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May 19, 2014

How to Handle Invasive Plants in Your Local Environment

You have identified invasive plants on your property, and now you’re wondering about the next step. Although prevention is the best method of control, you still have some options to minimize the spread of the existing invasive plants. Here are some steps you can take to try and achieve this goal:

 

Invasive plants research, Wanying Zhao MS student

Photo via Ohio State University on Flickr.

 

Don’t Give Them a Chance to Take Over

Hopefully you have identified the invasive plants early, so you will have an opportunity to remove them before they are a problem. Scout the entire property to verify you know exactly where they are located. If possible, remove all plants before they have the opportunity to go to seed. The best method is to completely dig out the plants if possible. Cutting is an acceptable alternative; something is better than nothing. After the invasive plants are removed, make sure you replace them with native plants, so there’s no bare soil for the invasive plants to reinhabit.

Fertilize Appropriately

Before applying fertilizer to your soil, make sure you test it first. Invasive species prefer high nitrogen levels, so you will want to avoid providing them. Instead, select an organic compost or mulch that will decompose slowly over time.

Avoid Disturbing Native Plants

Removing native plants will result in bare soil, giving highly competitive invasive plants an even better chance than usual. Try to leave the landscape as undisturbed as possible. Even better: actively protect healthy native plants as best you can.

Avoid Accidentally Spreading Invasive Plants

It is easy for seeds to become trapped in the mud on your boots and transported to other locations. Clean the dirt off of your boots at every opportunity. Avoid driving or participating in recreational activities such as hiking in areas where invasive plants are known to grow–unless you’re there to remove them!

 

On the hunt

Photo by Jims_photos (Flickr).

 

Try it!

YOU can help end the spread of invasive plantstweet it TWEET

on your property. You must be proactive to prevent new invasive plants from being introduced. Be sure to learn which species are a threat in your area and avoid collecting them or spreading them. Report any invasive plants to the appropriate local plant organization or wildlife group. Spread the word to others about invasive species and what they can do to help reduce the propagation. Taking these actions will help reduce the spread of invasive plants on your land and on the land in your community.

Further resources: 1, 2, & 3.

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