Controlling Invasive Plants in Your Yard
Invasive plants are commonly found in residential yards and gardens and these plants provide a source of seed for invasion into our parks and natural areas. Seeds or other viable plant material can be transported by wind, water, animals, and on the bottom of our shoes.
Please consider removing invasive plants from your property and replacing them with a suitable native alternative. The Ohio Invasive Plants Council (OIPC) has a list of native alternatives for common invasive plants in Ohio. You'll find lots of helpful information on the Resources tab of the OIPC website.
Strategies for controlling invasive plants in your garden
In Upper Arlington parks we use the cut stump method for medium and large woody invasive plants like honeysuckle and buckthorn. The plant is cut off as close to the ground as possible using a pair of loppers or a pruning saw. Then a concentrated herbicide that is labeled for cut stump applications is applied to the cut surface of the plant within one minute of making the cut. Timing of the herbicide application is critical to prevent resprouting.
The herbicide we use is a concentrated glyphosate product. You can find a variety of "Roundup" products at most big box home improvement store. Look for one that is at least 10% glyphosate. This will be shown on the front of the label. Always thoroughly read the label of any herbicides that you are using to make sure that it will be used safely and effectively.
If you have lots of small plants that are too small for the cut stump method you may opt to do a foliar application of herbicide to the leaves during the growing season. You could also use a glyphosate product for foliar application but it would be a very dilute solution, approximately 1-2% active ingredient. Carefully avoid overspray or dripping the herbicide onto non-target plants. Read the label for mixing and application instructions and follow all safety precautions.
If you don't want to use herbicide you could remove plants mechanically through pulling or digging. Invasive garlic mustard is herbaceous and is easily pulled when the plants are in bloom. Small honeysuckle plants that are less then 3 feet tall usually pull out of the ground easily because they are shallow rooted. Larger shrubs or well established vines may require lots of digging, but it can be done.
This well-established patch of English Ivy was all removed by digging.
Landscaping with native plants provides many benefits...
Native plants are low maintenance; once established they do not need fertilizer, herbicide, pesticides or watering, which saves you money
Native plants are well adapted to our soil and climate
Native plants attract and provide resources for a variety of songbirds, butterflies and other native pollinators
Native plants are just as attractive and beautiful as many non-native invasive plants currently used for home landscaping
Check out Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy for more information on landscaping with native plants.
More Information about invasive plant control can be found at these websites
Controlling non-native invasive plants in Ohio forests: bush honeysuckle, OSU Extenstion
Plant Conservation Alliance, Least Wanted Plants: Exotic Bush Honeysuckles
U. S. Forest Service Weed of the Week: European Privet
Controlling non-native invasive plants in Ohio forests: garlic mustard, OSU Extension
Winged burning bush, homeowners factsheet, Northern Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership
Plant Conservatin Alliance, Least Wanted Plants: English Ivy
Plant Conservation Alliance, Least Wanted Plants: Climbing Euonymus
Controlling non-native invasive plants in Ohio forests: autumn olive and Russian olive
Controlling non-native invasive plants in Ohio forests: Ailanthus (tree-of-heaven)