What are Invasive Plants?
Invasive plants quickly overwhelm and displace existing native plants by reducing the availability of light, water, nutrients and space. They have few, if any, natural controls to keep them in check. Ecologists now rank invasion by exotic plants,
animals, and pathogens second only to habitat loss as a major threat to local biodiversity.
Invasive plants may be introduced by accident or intentionally to control erosion, provide wildlife food and habitat, or for ornamental value in gardens. Accidental introductions occur when people and goods travel worldwide. Packing material can harbor seeds or plant parts. Japanese stilt grass, now a widely escaped groundcover in woodland edges, is a prime example.
Invasive plants can be divided into two categories—(1) plants that were introduced either intentionally or accidentally but are no longer sold (i.e. multiflora rose, stilt grass) and (2) ornamental plants still grown and sold.
This brochure focuses primarily on invasive plants no longer sold. The goal is to guide home and property owners in the identification and control of aggressive invasive plants. Not only will control improve the diversity of native and non-invasive plants, but it will also improve habitat and help prevent the spread of invasive plants to neighboring areas.