You are here: Home Blog 2010 August 08 Invasive Garden and Landscape Plants

Invasive Garden and Landscape Plants

by aseligmann — last modified Aug 08, 2010 12:00 AM

Invasive plants have become a problem nationwide. In natural areas, these non-native plants can sometimes take over and out-compete native plants. When native plants suffer, so do the animals that depend on them for food and habitat.

Invasive plants have become a problem nationwide. In natural areas, these non-native plants can sometimes take over and out-compete native plants. When native plants suffer, so do the animals that depend on them for food and habitat.

Some invasive plants were planted here as ornamental plants in landscapes. What does this have to do with pesticides? When these aggressive escapees invade natural areas they may be targeted for control. Control programs usually use herbicides (which are, technically speaking, one type of pesticide). By not planting these problematic plants, we not only protect our natural areas but also prevent the use of large amounts of herbicides.

Three well known landscape escapees are English ivy, purple loosestrife, and the butterfly bush.

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is found in a diverse settings, but is probably most threatening along streams and rivers and in wetlands. In addition, it may have an economic impact: it was recently found on land being reforested where it was out-competing tree seedlings.
Learn more:   * Butterfly bush is showing it's true colors    * Popular butterfly bush added to noxious weed list

English ivy -- valued as a dense ground cover -- becomes a problem for the very same reason. It can eliminate other plants on the ground and can completely encase trees.
Learn more:    English and Irish Ivies

Purple loosestrife forms dense stands in wetlands where it takes the place of plants that provide higher quality nutrition for wildlife. It can clog waterways and reduce habitat for waterfowl.
Learn more:   * General Information about Purple Loosestrife    * Purple Loosestrife

Resources for Gardeners

Gardeners can learn which plants are a problem in their area and take care to NOT plant the invasive cultivars. It's not hard to find lists of invasive plants, however most online resources are not aimed at gardeners.

Northwest

The first two websites below are helpful because they not only identify the offenders, but also offer specific information on alternative plants for the landscape.

 

All States