How to recognize and eliminate invasive species in your yard

The flowers of Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) make an attractive spring show and the fall fruits are showy and excellent food for birds.  But this exotic plant is a destructive invasive plant that crowds out existing vegetation leading to decreased biodiversity.

An invasive species is an organism that is not indigenous, or native, to a particular area. Invasive species can cause great economic and environmental harm to the new area and can threaten our aquatic environments, wildlife and plant life.

Threats from invasive species are literally growing every day in our woodlands. They aren’t native to our area, but they grow and reproduce very aggressively, crowding out the native plants needed to feed and support wildlife. Invasive species are much more than weeds. They have the potential to destroy the ecological balance of our woodlands.

The threat of invasive plants is responsible for a movement encouraging people to plant only native plants – plants that are indigenous to our area. We should all be adding native plants to our landscape to help restore and maintain the needed ecological balance. This will certainly help, but unfortunately it won’t solve the problem, since the invasive plants are already here.

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It is true that the planting of non-native plants is how the invasive plant problem got started and literally took root. In 1898, Amur Honeysuckle was imported into New York through the New York Botanical Garden. It was intended to be used for wildlife cover and preventing soil erosion. It was discovered to reproduce on its own – and it reproduced very quickly.

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