Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Taking back the yard: Dealing with invasive plants

Date:
June 12, 2013
Source:
Saint Joseph's University
Summary:
There’s nothing more frustrating for gardeners than discovering that their well-planned plots or rolling lawns have been infiltrated by invasive plant species, the perennial marauders of the back yard set. While many people panic and immediately start yanking or mowing the intruders when they first make their appearance, a gardening expert advises that it’s best to investigate the plant that’s choking your columbines or blighting your lawn before complicating the problem with an errant course of action.

There's nothing more frustrating for gardeners than discovering that their well-planned plots or rolling lawns have been infiltrated by invasive plant species, the perennial marauders of the back yard set. While many panic and immediately start yanking or mowing the intruders when they first make their appearance, gardening expert Karen Snetselaar, Ph.D., chair and professor of biology at Saint Joseph's University, advises that it's best to investigate the plant that's choking your columbines or blighting your lawn before complicating the problem with an errant course of action.

"Education is key," Snetselaar says. "Find out what it is that you're pulling from the ground. Knowing more about the invader will help you make better choices, and it's less likely that you'll be responsible for the proliferation of an invasive species."

According to Snetselaar, there are great online sources to consult, and each state's department of natural resources will typically provide information about problem plants. In addition, the National Park Service's Weeds Gone Wild site has a manageable list of factsheets for some of the most common invasives.

Timing is critical for removing the more pernicious trespassers, says Snetselaar. Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) is a prime example. A weed that is spreading rapidly in the Mid-Atlantic States, this Asian native is dispersed by seed and grows prolifically in lawns. While it's tempting to fire up the lawn mower when it's detected, Snetselaar says that if it's mowed, the stiltgrass will just produce seeds on tiny little plants. "It's better to wait until the grass matures a little -- not to the point where it's actually making seeds, but just before that stage -- and then pull it up by the roots."

On the other hand, Snetselaar notes, pulling up Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), a notorious invader, isn't recommended, because it can re-grow from even the tiniest bit of root. Herbicides and repeated cutting and bagging of the stems are the prescribed approaches.

Invasive plants are likely to keep most of us busy for a long time, Snetselaar says, and factors that we can't control, such as climate change and stormwater runoff will continue to result in new invasions. But though they may present many thorny problems, it's not inevitable that the invasive plants will win. It's critical that homeowners take the time to consider how to make their lawns and gardens less susceptible to invasion, she says.

"Clearing everything from a weedy spot in the yard can be cathartic, but unless you have a good plan for what will take the place of what you remove, a slower approach is advised, or you'll just prepare the ground for a new invasion," Snetselaar says. Gradually removing aggressive plants and replacing them with better-behaved species takes patience, she adds, but in the long run, homeowners are rewarded with lovely gardens and healthy lawns.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Joseph's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Saint Joseph's University. "Taking back the yard: Dealing with invasive plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612162304.htm>.
Saint Joseph's University. (2013, June 12). Taking back the yard: Dealing with invasive plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612162304.htm
Saint Joseph's University. "Taking back the yard: Dealing with invasive plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612162304.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins