Invasive species are non-native organisms that affect the local ecology. When non-native plants and animals establish themselves in our local ecosystems, they outcompete and displace species that have evolved to thrive there specifically. These plants impact us by eroding our soil, causing erosion, and potentially lowering our water quality. They crowd out and, in some cases, destroy key tree species that offer shade, carbon storage, and habitat for local fauna. Furthermore, they can potentially raise the risk of a wildfire. We need everyone’s help in preventing the spread of invasive plants

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as the adage goes. This remark is especially relevant when it comes to limiting the introduction and spread of invasive species in our national parks and backyards. There are a number of things we can all do to help avoid transferring invasive species. The following are some suggestions to help prevent the spread of invasive plants.

Tips for Preventing the Spread of Invasive Plants and Species

Do Not Move Firewood

Firewood is frequently cut from dead or dying trees, which are often home to creatures such as the emerald ash borer, a very harmful invasive species. Moving firewood can transport these insects from one location to another, thereby dispersing unwanted pests and potentially seedlings or invasive plant species. Please support your local firewood suppliers by purchasing firewood from them, and do not move the wood after you’ve purchased it. 

Clean Hiking and Fishing Equipment

While you may be taking a pleasant trek along your neighborhood path or catching some fish in a nearby stream or river, you may be unwittingly gathering invasive species off your boots and waders while you hike and fish. So make a habit of spraying and wiping off your boots and waders after each usage, especially if you’re traveling with them, to avoid accidentally inviting an unwanted species to the party. 

Anglers are also recommended to convert from felt-soled waders to rubber-soled waders to prevent harboring invasives. Didymo, sometimes known as “river snot,” is one example in the Chesapeake Bay. Didymo is a species of algae that develops dense mats at the bottom of freshwater streams and can be difficult to break apart or remove from rocks.

Ways to Get Rid of Invasive Plants

Fish With Native Bait

When you go fishing in your local stream, river, or creek, your bait may be an invasive species shaped like a worm or fish. Seek to find natural bait if at all possible. Don’t throw your bait into the water when you’re done fishing.

Clean Your Boat

Aquatic invasive organisms, such as various forms of algae, can be carried by the bottom and sides of boats. To avoid spreading undesirable invasives, properly wash your boat before moving it from one body of water to another.

Volunteer to Help Remove Invasive Plants

English ivy creeps up the walls of our buildings, covers our forest floors, and grows up the trunks of our trees. You may help by participating in a local eradication operation or just taking the time to remove invasive plants from your own yard.

Report Invasive Species

You may report any sightings on the Missouri Invasive Plant Council Website. For additional information on reporting an invasive species in Missouri, go to the Department of Agriculture’s website. The website is an excellent resource for residents.

English Ivy Invasive Plants

Early Detection of invasive species and addressing the new infestation as soon as possible is essential for good invasive species management. If an invasive plant species is not recognized and eradicated as soon as possible, costly and long-term control may be required.

Wash Your Car

Wash your car, especially if you’ve been driving on gravel or dirt roads. Plant matter can become lodged in your tires and undercarriage. This covers automobiles, motorcycles, and ATVs.

Check Your Pets When Traveling

Like your boots and garments, your pet’s paws are ideal seed carriers. So, when traveling with your pet, make sure to inspect them and brush them off!

Consult Down to Earth Services – Your Local Native Plant Nursery

Visit Down to Earth Services, your local nursery, and talk to them about what plants are natural to your area. Consider redbuds, butterfly milkweed, coneflowers, and more native plants to add to your lawn and landscaping! Bid farewell to the Bartlett pear tree, and say hello to the dogwood! Your yard, as well as our ecology, will be grateful. Our best natural protection against invasive species is native species. Native plants use less water, save time and money, and create critical habitats for pollinators.

using dogwood native plants vs invasive plants

Final Notes on Preventing the Spread of the Invasive Plants

Invasive plants are one of the most significant issues plaguing landscapes and communities across the United States. Take the steps above to prevent the spread of invasive plants and species. Down to Earth Services is here to help! As the native plant experts of Kansas and Missouri, we can help design, install, and maintain your native plant garden and landscape. Contact Down to Earth Services today to learn more!