With springtime comes much gardening, and knowing what plants you have in and around your garden is very important- especially the problematic ones. You may have an invasive species plant in your garden or around your home and not even know about it. Invasive species are detrimental to the ecosystem around them because they choke out native plants and animals. By keeping these invasive species out of your garden, you can prevent the spread of them into nearby woods and fields.

1. Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Purple loosestrife may look pretty upon first inspection, but it has taken over many marshes and wetlands across Ohio. While the Ohio Division of Wildlife spends a large amount of time and money trying to eradicate this species, homeowners are unknowingly buying this plant from stores to plant along their ponds or marshes on their property.

Small amount of purple loosestrife can be eradicated mechanically and other larger sections can be killed off with herbicides. Some areas even use insects to eliminate purple loosestrife.

Native solutions: spiked blazing-star (Liatris spicata)blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), & blue flag iris (Iris versicolor).


2. Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)

Multifora rose is a thick thorn bush with white flowers and red berries. In the past, multiflora rose was planted as a “living fence” for livestock. Now, it has begun to take over many forests. It chokes out native shrubs and trees, destroying habitat for many animals. While it is a major problem in southern Ohio, multiflora rose can grow in many different habitats in Ohio.

Just like purple loosestrife, multiflora rose can be removed by manually pulling smaller bushes or chemically by spraying the large sections.

Native solutions: Carolina rose (Rosa carolina), black haw (Viburnum prunifolium), & fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica)


3. Garlic mustard (Alliara petiolata)

Garlic mustard is another common invasive species found in gardens and woodlots. It spreads very quickly due to its production of a large amount of seeds. Garlic mustard is regarded more of as a weed and is not usually planted on purpose. Rather, it is spread accidentally if its seeds are not taken care of properly.

Smaller patches of garlic mustard can be hand pulled before or at flowering time. One way to do this is by cutting off the flowering top then continuing to remove the actual stem and root. This ensures all of the seeds are removed. Plants should be removed from the site after pulling to avoid the maturing of the seeds. Herbicides can also be applied to the rosettes in early spring or late fall.

Native solutions: While garlic mustard is considered a weed and not generally planted, white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) and columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) are some native solutions.


4. Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum)

Poison hemlock is native to Eurasia and was brought here for ornamental reasons. The plant can now be found in many areas in Ohio including no-tillage fields. All parts of the plant are highly toxic to animals and humans. If ingested, the toxins can cause sickness and even death. Even small doses of poison hemlock are lethal to livestock.

Control of poison hemlock using herbicides needs to occur while the plant is in the vegetative state. For a first year plant, this is in the fall and for a second year plant this is in the spring. Recommended herbicides include 2,4-D, dicamba (Banvel/Clarity), Crossbow (2-4,D plus triclopyr), and glyphosate. Be aware that all of these herbicides are broad leaf weed killers, which means  they will kill desirable broad leaf plants such as clover and alfalfa plants if applied in a pasture. Spot spraying is recommended for small infestations.

Poison hemlock is very similar to Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) or “Queen Anne’s lace” and Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).


5. Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Japanese honeysuckle is a vine that thrives in disturbed habitats. Like many other invasive species, it was brought to the United States for ornamental reasons and has since spread, choking out many native species.

Removing Japanese honey suckle manually generally isn’t very productive since it is a vine. Instead, apply herbicides to the leaves when the plant is dormant. Applying herbicides in conjunction with a controlled burn proves very effective. However, there are native climbing honeysuckle vines such as wild honeysuckle (Lonicera dioica) in Ohio.

Native solutions: wild honeysuckle (Lonicera dioica) & virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana)

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About Sarah Schott

I have enjoyed hunting, fishing, and the outdoors my entire life. My enjoyment of writing, reading, and teaching others leads me to want to share my passions of the environment. I have also found conservation to be very important and I am well aware of how important conservation choices are! Through my work with the District, I like to deliver information that is helpful, inspiring, and challenging for our readers to make even better conservation choices of all our natural resources!

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