Invasive Plant Species
You can make a huge contribution to nature by finding and removing any invasive species lurking on your property.
There's a small set of plants – super species if you will – that did not evolve here and are causing serious, expensive problems now that they've arrived. Buckthorn, garlic mustard and teasel are examples. Featuring longer-than-normal growing seasons, astounding reproductive abilities and low disease resistance, they enter our treasured natural areas and take over. As a result, dozens of native plant species – and the wildlife that depend upon them – disappear. Many other aspects of ecosystem health can suffer as well, including soil chemistry, hydrology, structure and resilience.
Plant ID and Control pages linked below are from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources A Field guide to Terrestrial Invasive Plants in Wisconsin
Invasive Plant Species - Lake County's worst of the worst
Invasive Plant Species
|Oriental bittersweet||Celastrus orbiculatus|
|Asian bush honeysuckle||Lonicera maackii, L. morrowii, L. tatarica, & L. x bella|
|Burning bush||Euonymus alatus|
|Canada thistle||Cirsium arvense|
|Common & glossy buckthorn||Rhamnus cathartica & Frangula alnus|
|Common reed||Phragmites australis|
|Common & cut-leaved teasel||Dipsacus fullonum & D. laciniatus|
|Crown vetch||Securigera varia|
|Field & Japanese hedge parsley||Torilis arvensis & T. japonica|
|Flowering rush||Butomus umbellatus|
|Garlic mustard||Alliaria petiolata|
|Japanese barberry||Berberis thunbergii|
|Japanese honeysuckle||Lonicera japonica|
|Narrow-leaved & hybrid cattail||Typha angustifolia & T. x glauca|
|Multiflora rose||Rosa multiflora|
|Purple loosestrife||Lythrum salicaria|
|Reed canary grass||Phalaris arundinacea|
|White & yellow sweetclover||Melilotus alba & M. officinalis|
|Yellow Iris||Iris pseudacorus|
|Brazilian elodea||Egeria densa|
|Curly-leaf pondweed||Potamogeton crispus|
|Eurasian watermilfoil||Myriophyllum spicatum|
|Water hyacinth||Eichhornia crassipes|
|Water lettuce||Pistia stratiotes|
I don't live near a nature preserve, so do I need to worry about invasives?
Here's the problem: birds oftentimes eat berries on one property and eliminate the seeds on others. You may not see this because a flock of birds frequently arrives for just a short period and picks the place clean. By the way, buckthorn berries are diuretics, causing those poor birds to lose a great deal of fluids and nutrients. So we can't assume these berry-producers are good for nature.
But I paid good money for that bush
Some invasives show up uninvited but others are inadvertently purchased, planted and lovingly cared for as beautiful elements of your landscape. Barberry and burning bush are examples. They're hardy and disease-resistant, just what we look for in landscape choices. But that's exactly what makes them more likely to hop the garden fence and invade the nearest nature preserve. The garden center industry is becoming aware of problems posed by invasive species – some outlets faster than others – and making healthy changes.
Why not let nature take its course?
In the past, species were restricted to certain areas by such barriers as oceans, deserts and mountain ranges. Now virtually all such obstacles have been breached and people are joined in our transcontinental travels by all sorts of species – both intentionally and not. This worldwide shake-up has exposed vulnerable ecosystems everywhere to a handful of botanical bullies that displace natives and upend ecological processes.