Managing Invasive Plants

They're out there. The problem of invasive plants is as close as your own backyard.

Maybe a favorite dogwood tree is struggling in the clutches of an Oriental bittersweet vine. Clawlike canes of multiflora rose are scratching at the side of your house. That handsome burning bush you planted few years ago has become a whole clump in practically no time … but what happened to the azalea that used to grow right next to it? If you think controlling or managing invasive plants on your property is a daunting task, you're not alone. Though this topic is getting lots of attention from federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as the media, the basic question for most homeowners is simply, "How do I get rid of the invasive plants in my own landscape?" Fortunately, the best place to begin to tackle this complex issue is in our own backyards and on local conservation lands, and Michael Bellantoni can help.

Preventing or reducing undesirable impacts of non-native invasive plants is a difficult challenge facing all land owners and managers. Non-native invasive plants impact landscapes across the U.S. through changes in the structure, composition, and successional pathways of native plant communities.

PLAN OF ATTACK

Three broad categories cover most invasive plant control: mechanical, chemical, and biological. Mechanical control means physically removing plants from the environment through cutting or pulling. Chemical control uses herbicides to kill plants and inhibit re-growth. Techniques and chemicals used will vary depending on the species. Biological controls use plant diseases or insect predators, typically from the targeted species' home range. Several techniques may be effective in controlling a single species, but there is usually one preferred method—the one that is most resource efficient with minimal impact on non-target species and the environment.

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