How to Stop Invasive Plants

Learn about invasive plant species, how they harm our local ecosystems, and how you can take action in your community to prevent their spread.

| May 2019


Invasive plants are exotic or non-native species that have displaced native plants in their own ecosystems and consequently damaged (simplified and/or depauperated) those natural habitats. An invasive plant can take over a new area because the insects, diseases, and foraging animals with which it coevolved, and which kept its growth in check in its native range, are missing from its new habitat. This gives the invasive species an ecological advantage over native species.

Before labeling a plant invasive, regional nonprofit organizations study natural habitats to determine the extent of harm done by that species. The term invasive is not assigned lightly.

Many native plants can be aggressive in urban/suburban landscapes, usually because of disturbed soils, but by definition native species are not invasive (although they might be labeled noxious). While most exotic plants are not invasive, any aggressive exotic could become so, given enough time.

Invasive species are problematic because they:

  • Outcompete, weaken, or kill native plants that are needed to support local wildlife.
  • Often do not supply the kinds of habitat services – food, cover, nesting sites – that native plants provide.
  • Disrupt both natural and urban ecosystems
  • Divert millions of public and private dollars for their control.

In addition, large-scale invasive plant removal efforts may include the use of power tools and large machinery, which have their own climate footprint. Disruption of the soil during these efforts releases sequestered carbon as co2 into the atmosphere. And the use of herbicides may damage remaining plants and animals as well as complicating the needed ecosystem restoration after the removal is completed.

7/24/2019 12:48:29 PM

I have been dealing with Trumpet vines for 20 years planted on state property (CalTrans) and bullying its way into my yard, spreading underground so I cannot see it until it pops up (everywhere) in my back yard. I'm not sure that even an atom bomb would have an effect. Two or three times a year I go over the fence and physically cut the damn vines to get them off the fence. arggg!

5/23/2019 9:04:30 AM

"What’s invasive in Florida will not be the same ass in..." nice editing...

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me