Wisconsin property owners often have uninvited guests that quietly sneak in, gain a foothold and make themselves right at home, they are invasive plant species. Invasive plants are species or varieties that are not native to WI and that cause, or are likely to cause economic or environmental harm. These plants grow and proliferate throughout an area and usually out-compete the native plants. Native plant and animal biodiversity is lost as the invasive plants multiply and spread. The health of the property or woods is permanently altered as natural tree regeneration is lost. Perhaps the two most common examples of this in southeastern WI are honeysuckle and buckthorn. The problem of invasive species is not a new one, and the problem is getting worse, with many potentially new invasives creeping ever closer.
Invasive plant species can spread through a variety of ways. Once established, plants can spread by seed or vegetatively. Seeds can be carried by wind, fire, water, or animals. They can hitchhike on the shoes of hikers, tire treads of vehicles, boats and boat trailers, and in the intestines of animals such as livestock, horses, and wildlife. Some invasive plants also have the ability to reproduce vegetatively by sending out underground shoots which form new plants, often time escaping from landscaped planting beds and moving out into the nearby areas and taking off from there.
Once an invasive plant gets into an area, it can be a daunting task to remove it. Often times fixing the problem may take many years. Creating a management plan and following thru on it over time can be the best way of dealing with the problem. Start your attack in areas where you can have the most success immediately. Concentrate on frontier areas where control can give you immediate results. It is easier and can be more successful to keep the invasive plants out of new areas. Once you are making progress, move on more entrenched areas.
Controlling invasives on your property will allow you to manage your landscape in a healthier and more natural way. Native tree and shrub regeneration will become possible; this diversity will create an area with a variety of age and sizes. Other benefits will include a more attractive look to your woods, more diversity of birds and small mammals, and the satisfaction of knowing that you are taking the right steps.
If you need help controlling the invasive plants on your property, please contact Hoppe Tree Service. One of our certified arborists can help you create a plan that will work for you. 414-257-2111, or visit www.hoppetreeservice.com
The WI DNR has created a new rule to help limit the introduction and spread of invasive species thru voluntary action. The new rule is called NR 40. More information regarding NR 40 and Lists of WI DNR prohibited and restricted invasive plants can be found at http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/invasives/plants.asp
Certified Arborist WI-0477A
Hoppe Tree Service