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What can I do to combat invasive plants?

  • Know your plants
  • When gardening, use species that are not listed on the Federal noxious weed list for your state, and find out what plants are causing problems in parks or natural areas in your region to make sure you know what species to avoid.
  • Use Non-Invasive Alternatives
    Ask a nursery about non-invasive plant alternatives. Native plants often have similar characteristics as invasives without the damaging ecological side effects
  • Watch out for invasive plant hitch-hikers
    Check clothes, belongings, and vehicles for seeds and pieces of plants. Many invasive plants are spread to new places when they become attached to these things and then drop off somewhere new.
  • Have a care if you share
    Many invasive plants move around because they are attractive garden plants. Do not share cuttings, seedlings or plants that are invasive with neighbors and friends.
  • Use seed mixes that are invasive plant-free
    Some invasive plants were introduced because they were contaminants in wildflower and grass seed mixes. Check the ingredients of seed mixes to make sure invasive plants are not included. Buy seed mixes from reputable sources that guarantee the purity and content of their seed. Take your regional native plant list with you when you buy the mix.
Cogongrass
  • Use weed-free soil and mulch mix
    Some invasive plants are introduced because they were contaminants in landfill soil and mulch mixes. Purchase from reputable manufacturers that guarantee the purity or weed-free content of their soil and mulch mixes. Look for a tag that says “Certified weed-free.”
  • Be especially careful with aquatic plants
    Don’t just dump them! Invasive aquatic plants are often introduced as attractive water garden and aquarium decorations.
  • Keep an eye on new sprouts and volunteers
    Invasive plants can come from anywhere and spread very quickly. Some make attractive additions to our gardens but can spread very quickly by producing lots of seedlings. Control your invasive garden plants by hand-pulling or mowing unwanted seedlings to prevent them from growing to maturity. Be aware of what is coming up in your yard and take care to control these new invasives.
  • Dispose of invasive plants carefully
    When disposing of invasive plant material consider whether there are any seeds, fruits or cuttings that could re-sprout. At a minimum, bag these materials to help prevent their spread. Try freezing seeds, fruits and cuttings as this will make them nonviable. Or consider pruning or removing invasive plants before they produce fruit or seeds. If it is permitted in your area and can be safely done, consider burning the plant material.
  • If you can’t part with your invasive plant, remember – contain it, control it, or cage it
    Please be responsible. If you have a plant in your garden that has invasive tendencies, take special steps to keep it in your garden such as inserting root barriers, trimming regularly or harvesting fruits or seeds before they are spread.

What you can do to combat invasive animals?

  • Leave firewood in its place
    Non-native invasive insects kill large numbers of trees each year. These wood infesting invaders can be transported long distances in firewood. You can help protect our nation’s forests by leaving firewood at home and instead use firewood from local sources when traveling or camping. If you have moved firewood, burn all of it before leaving your campsite.
  • Dispose of aquariums properly
    Use extra care when disposing of animals, plants or water from aquariums. Adopt out or dispose of fish or other animal species in a humane way. Dumping any non-native animal species into a storm drain or waterway puts our waterways at risk. Water from aquariums should be only be disposed of in a sewer system, such as a toilet. Solid material should be bagged and disposed of with the household trash.
  • Exotic pets
    If you can no longer care for your non-native pet then adopt the pet out, check with your local pet store for adoption programs or dispose of the animal in a humane way. Many invasive animal problems are a direct result of unwanted pets being released into the wild.
Burmese pythons become a problem in Florida due to pet owners releasing them into the wild
  • Clean off boats, trailers and other recreational vehicles
    After fishing or boating always clean your boat, trailer and vehicle before leaving the site. This helps stop the spread of invasive plants or animals to the next lake or river you visit.