Since 2009 the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, located at the University of Texas at Austin, has been partnered with the Garden Club of America, The National Invasive Species Council and the National Park Service to educate the public and promote best practices for the prevention of invasive species from taking over parklands and natural areas. This partnership working under the name “Be Plantwise”, believes that the public can be influential and effective in the management of invasive plant species. Be Plantwise members have collaborated to come up with the following 10 tips for homeowners to prevent the introduction of invasive species, use native species and manage their landscape in the presence of introduced species.
- Be aware of invasive species common in your region so you know what to avoid. Conversely, become acquainted with plant species native to your area, and consult with your arborist regarding which would thrive on your landscape.
- Non-invasive species or cultivars can be substituted for natives if necessary or more desirable. While native plants are ideal, non-invasive species will, at least, not having the damaging ecological effects of invasive plants and can still be useful in combatting an invasive invasion.
- Be conscientious about transporting invasive species; check your clothing and vehicle for hitchhiking invasive seeds and plant parts that can be deposited elsewhere.
- Before you share cuttings, seedlings or plants with neighbors and friends be certain that those plants are native or non-invasive.
- If you plan to use seed mixes, be sure that they are free from invasive species, purchase only from reputable sources who guarantee their products and refer to your regional native plant list when buying mixes.
- Ensure soil and mulches are clean and weed-free before applying, invasive species can be introduced from improper landfill disposal. Purchase soils and mulches from a reputable source which guarantees their products, look for labeling that certifying that it is “weed-free”.
- Take extra care when using aquatic plants in your landscape and when disposing of them. Aquatic plants can be aggressively invasive and usually start as pond or aquarium decorations.
- Monitor your gardens and landscapes for new sprouts and volunteer seedlings, invasive plants can establish and get out of control quickly. A list or rough map of your property will help you remember what you planted so you can easily identify unwanted plants, remove these carefully and quickly.
- If you have identified invasive plants, remove and dispose of them with care. Seeds, roots, fruits and plant parts can regenerate and spread, making the problem worse than it may have originally been. At a minimum, make sure to secure undesirable plant material in bags, then consult with your arborist or town’s waste program for advice on proper disposal.
- If you cannot remove an invasive plant on your property, for some reason, contain it as securely as possible. Undertake maintenance precautions such as installing root barriers, prophylactic pruning and harvesting fruit to prevent spread.
For more information on planting native and helping prevent the invasive spread visit: http://www.wildflower.org/.