As lovely as I find the woods around me to be, I continually wonder what it would be like under better conditions. Everywhere I look I find two things:
•An overabundance of certain plants
•A significant lack of others
Foreign aggressors have pushed out many homeland plants. Called non-native invasive species, plants like celandine, multiflora rose, and Japanese stiltgrass have been transplanted from the environment in which they were first born to this new home of overly favorable conditions.
And in most cases, the invasives got here because someone planted them in the area. It wouldn’t be so bad if they shared the land and returned food to the local wildlife, but most of them don’t. Like a dictatorship, they do what it is best for them. They grow. And spread. And grow. And spread.
Removing non-native invasives once they gain a foothold in a place requires either heavy labor, tenacity, or poison.
Thus, the most important thing for any of us to do, no matter where we live, is to make sure we NEVER plant one in any garden or landscape. On their own, they are not ugly plants. Garden centers continue to sell some of them, even those listed as noxious weeds, sometimes under creative names.
But how do you know what NOT to buy? Do your homework first by looking up the Latin names in today’s resource before you plant: The Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. And beware every time the salesperson says, “You’ll love it; it just takes over.”