Invasive plants are just as they sound; invasive. They are invading a space that is not native to them. This doesn’t just mean they came from somewhere other than your geographic locale, it can mean that they will cause big trouble for your landscape. Not all invasive plants are bad, but knowing how to identify them and remove them if needed can be mission-critical to keeping your lawn and its surrounding landscapes healthy.
Spring-Green, the neighborhood lawn care specialists for over forty years, can guide you to the knowledge you need to protect your landscape against potential damage that invasive species can cause. Of course, we’re here for you every step of the way as you build the perfect and healthy outdoor oasis. So, let’s drill down on the definitions, signs, and best practices for dealing with invasive plants.
Test Your Invasive Plant Knowledge
- The Definition – The official definition, as put out by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, for invasive plants is any organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment in a region where it is not considered native. Invasive plants can range from fish to reptiles to (the focus of this guide) plants. Invasive plants can be introduced to an area by ship ballast water or accidental release. The most common way, however, is attributed to human transport.
- Common Invasive Plants – Your region will determine which invasive plant species you should be on the lookout for, but it’s a good idea to get familiar with this list of common ones.
- Poison Ivy – Poison Ivy is known for the itchy rash it causes for most people and is definitely an invasive plant species that you’ll want to keep out of your garden. If you spot it, be sure to wear gloves and protective clothing when removing it from your yard.
- Dandelions – Dandelion can be problematic because it can quickly take over your entire lawn. The commonly-recognized yellow flower blooms quickly, and its seeds can disperse in the wind. Next thing you know, your green lawn is overtaken by a field of yellow flowers.
- Violets – Wild violets are hearty in most environments as well as add flair and color to your garden. If you don’t want them in your garden, however, you can remove by hand or with a spot spray weed killer.
- Creeping Charlie – Creeping Charlie is also sometimes referred to as Ground Ivy. It is strong and vigorous and can overtake your garden creating a mat that smothers other plants. You can dig it up or treat it with herbicide, which will likely take several applications over several weeks.
- Plantain – Plantain is a common garden weed that likes the dark, moist corners or your garden. It’s easy to get rid of by digging up the roots or with the use of a Dandelion weeder.
- Crabgrass – Crabgrass is easy to remove by hand, but if it’s not kept under control, it can become a full-time job to get rid of it. Crabgrass thrives in the heat of summer and can be kept at bay with spot herbicide applications.
The Problems They Cause – The issue with invasive plants can be large on a macro and micro level. Let’s explore some of those reasons why we shouldn’t let invasive plants into our landscape and some of the problems they can cause.
- Economic impact – Beyond our own backyards, invasive species can have a deep impact on the economies they invade. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing can all be impacted when invasive species are left uncontrolled.
- Environmental impact – Invasive species have been shown to have an extreme impact on the environments they enter. They can cause the extinction of native plants and animals, destroy the surrounding biodiversity and permanently alter natural habitats.
- Impact on Your Garden – Not all invasive species are bad, but most can have a negative impact on your home or business landscape. With their survival resilience, they can overtake your native plants, trees, and grasses if not kept in check.
How to get rid of invasive plants – Getting rid of the invasive plants that have popped up in your garden is not rocket science, but it might require some hard work. Techniques will slightly vary depending on the type of invasive plant you’re faced with removing, but the following are some overarching ways to clear them out.
- Pull them out at the roots manually. Pull them out by the roots and dispose of your invasive species, if you can. If they have overcome your garden, this might be a tall task – so start early.
- Use garden machinery. Mowing, chainsaws, and weed whippers might all be useful in getting the invasive species out quicker. It can be hard to protect to your desired native plants, grasses, and shrubbery.
- Apply herbicides or weed killers. Your local garden center will have a bevy of chemical applications to kill off your invasive plants. The key will be finding ones that are environmentally-friendly and applying a way to does not kill everything.
- Hire a professional for the assist. Spring-Green professionals help homeowners every day find solutions to protect their gardens from invasive species as well as assistance with removing them if they get out of control.
Spring-Green is your neighborhood lawn care specialist. We’ve been helping local homeowners and businesses with all aspects of lawn care since 1977. The impact of invasive species can be unsightly, costly, and negatively impact our environment. Spring-Green can help you proactively avoid issues before they happen and get your garden out of trouble if invasive plant species find a stronghold there. It all starts with a phone call or an email.