Control Invasive Plants in May

May 15, 2016 lawanda Newspaper Columns

June is Wisconsin’s Invasive Species Awareness Month, but May is a better time to control the invasive plants growing on your property.  Plants are smaller and easier to remove and mosquitoes and deerflies haven’t yet arrived to make the work miserable.

It is likely that you have invasive plants in your landscape.  Buckthorn is a sneaky tree or shrub that grows behind garages, between rocks, in fence lines, and inside other multi-stemmed shrubs like lilacs, hydrangea, dogwood and viburnum.  Left unchecked, buckthorn can take over an entire forest, crowding out all other trees, shrubs and plants.  Small plants can easily be pulled.  Larger shrubs or trees should be cut and immediately brushed with Round-up.

Garlic mustard is another invasive that you might find along edges of your property or in other rough areas.  It is blooming now, with white flowers atop stems anywhere from two inches to three feet tall.  Leaves are triangular with wavy edges.  The plant has a pleasant garlic smell.  Pull the entire plant including the roots and dispose of it in the trash.  Do not compost or bury it.  Not only does garlic mustard physically crowd out other plants, it changes the chemical composition of the soil so that other plants are unable to grow.

In 2009, with Rule NR40, the DNR listed 64 plants considered invasive in Wisconsin.  Fifty-two more species were added in 2015.  Many of the listed plants have been growing in our yards for years, but have the potential to invade nearby natural areas as so many other garden escapees have done.

Here are just a few on the list:  amur maple, black locust, bishop’s goutweed, burning bush, common barberry, creeping bellflower, Japanese honeysuckle, Oriental bittersweet, queen of the meadow, Russian olive, tansy, Dame’s rocket and yellow iris.

For a complete list and photos of Wisconsin’s invasive plants, go to www.dnr.wi.gov and type “Invasive Plants” in the search box.  The list includes plants that are both restricted and prohibited.  You are strongly encouraged, but not required, to destroy restricted plants.  You are not allowed to possess the prohibited plants and are required to destroy them.

There is also a click box for non-regulated plants.  Plants on that list have potential to become invasive with the right conditions and are best removed from our landscapes before they become problematic.  Some of those plants are:  lily-of-the-valley, Callery pear, baby’s breath, creeping Charlie, Queen Anne’s lace, Scotch pine, watercress, white sweet clover, periwinkle, orange hawkweed, orange daylily and common St. John’s-wort.

Plants can rest benignly in our gardens for years when suddenly conditions become favorable for them to explode into invasiveness, destroying the native plants and ecosystems of our woods and prairies.

Please do your part to prevent that from happening.  You don’t have to memorize the entire list of invasives.  Just learn a few each year and if you find them in your landscape or a nearby park, work to remove them.

 

Pests/Weeds/Invasives


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