Invasive Plants: Don’t Let Invasives Take Over Your Property

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Purple Looseleaf – Invasive Plants

What Are Invasive Plants?

Invasive plants are species of plants that are not native to the local ecosystem and whose introduction causes economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health.

Why Are Invasive Plants Bad?

Invasive species compete directly with native species for moisture, sunlight, nutrients, and overall space. They typically win this battle, killing off the native species they are competing with because of their aggressive nature.  Many invasive plants produce a large quantity of seeds, thrive on disturbed soil, and grow dense root systems that spread long distances and smother native plant root systems. Some invasives also produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants around them.

Invasive Plants:

  • Are the main cause of decline in 18% of U.S endangered or threatened species.
  • Have contributed to the decline of 42% of U.S endangered or threatened species.
  • Decrease overall plant diversity
  • Degrade wildlife habitat
  • Increase soil erosion
  • Degrade water quality

Common invasives include English ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, pachysandra, purple looseleaf, and kudzu.

An easy way to spot non-native invasives is to look around your yard in the winter. Other than evergreens, non-native invasives will be the only plants green at this time of year.

Need Help With Invasive Plants?

Or Call 703.573.3029

Invasive Plants 3Are There Any Native Invasive Plants?

Yes, poison ivy is considered to be a native invasive in certain situations. Poison Ivy is supposed to grow upward on trees, when growing upward it grows berries that feed birds and other wildlife. When it grows on the ground it is considered invasive as it will not produce any berries and becomes very opportunistic. We advise removing ground cover poison ivy but leaving the poison ivy that grows on your tree. However; if you are allergic or have kids that play around those trees we will advise that all poison ivy is removed from your property.

How Do I Get Rid Of Invasive Plants?

  1. The first step in getting rid of invasives is to identify them. An Arborist will be able to take a look at your property inspecting your trees and shrubs to determine which ones are invasive.
  2. The second step is to perform ground plan improvement. In this step, we will go through and cull out the invasive species which will allow the stronger natives to thrive. Culling out invasive species also provides a more aesthetically pleasing area between the woods and your mowed grass.
Invasive Plants

Invasive Honeysuckle Where A Yard & Forest Meet

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Invasive Honeysuckle Removed

Because of the invasive nature of these invasive plants, they are sometimes hard to fully remove. Which is why it’s best to let Arborists with professional tools remove these species.

Need Help With Invasive Plants?

Or Call 703.573.3029

Alternatives To Invasive Species

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Blazing Star – Native Alternative To Purple Looseleaf

If you like the look of your invasive species but don’t want to contribute to the ecological harm caused by invasives try out the native alternatives below.

Purple Looseleaf: Native alternatives include blazing star (Liatris spicata), American blue vervain (Verbena hastate), and New York ironweed  (Vernonia noveboracensis).

Japanese Honeysuckle: Native alternatives include trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) and coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).

English Ivy: Native alternatives include Creeping mint (Meehania cordata), Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens) and creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

Kudzu: Native alternatives include Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Pachysandra: Native alternatives include Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum), and Appalachian Barren Strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides).

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Samantha Huff

Samantha Huff is the marketing coordinator at RTEC Treecare. She enjoys learning about the technical aspects of trees and the insects and diseases that prey on them. She hopes that these articles can help homeowners gain control of their tree and shrub maintenance by being aware of the signs and symptoms of unhealthy trees.

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