Many invasive, non-native plants were introduced to the United States for legitimate, well-intentioned purposes, while others were brought in by accident. Those that were able to tolerate a broad range of conditions, reproduce quickly, and disperse widely, have become well-established and are often costly to control and impossible to eradicate. Of the more than 3,000 species of plants known to occur in Ohio, approximately 25% (700-800 species) are non-native. These species were not known to occur in Ohio prior to substantial European settlement, approximately 1750. At least 60 of these species are now well-established in Ohio’s natural habitats and threaten Ohio’s native biodiversity by altering the food web and displacing native plants and animals.
All natural habitats in Ohio are impacted by invasive plants. In woodlands, species such as garlic mustard, Amur honeysuckle, Japanese stilt-grass, Japanese honeysuckle, and tree-of-heaven are displacing native wildflowers, tree and shrub seedlings. In wetlands, purple loosestrife, narrow-leaved cattail, Phragmites, reed canary grass, flowering-rush, and glossy buckthorn disrupt native plant communities. Grasslands are threatened by numerous invasive plants including autumn-olive, multiflora rose, Canada thistle, smooth brome, common and cut-leaved teasel, yellow and white sweet-clover.
Invasive plants can be controlled using a variety of different techniques, depending on the population size of the invasive plant and the tools available (public vs. private property). Typically, land managers and landowners use a combination of mechanical methods (e.g., cutting, pulling, mowing), herbicide application, water level control (in wetlands), prescribed burning, and biological control. The Division of Wildlife uses all these techniques to control invasive plants on its wildlife areas.
What can you do to help?
- Become more informed on this issue and help spread the word about invasive species.
- Learn about effective control techniques and use them to eliminate or reduce invasive plant populations on your property.
- Volunteer to help control invasive plants on public property.
- Be on the lookout for new populations of invasive plants; report them to the appropriate land manager.
- Be careful not to transport invasive plants from one site to another.
- Discourage the sale of invasive, non-native plants; use good alternatives in landscaping that are not invasive in Ohio’s natural habitats.
Terrestrial Invasive Wildlife