What plants are growing in your garden?

You’ve probably heard about the dangers of invasive plants: invasive plants devastate local ecology, chase out native species, and sometimes host insects or other pests that can harm humans or agriculture. In the Arb, we are concerned about local plant seeds traveling into the arboretum and disrupting the ecosystems we are trying to protect. But invasive plants are a problem for everyone, no matter where you live.

So, what can you do? Your own backyard is a great place to start!

  1. Find out if you have common invasive species growing in your own backyard. The Minnesota DNR website is one great resource, but most states have similar resources.
  2. Find out how to get rid of those plants. This may involve cutting down the plant, pulling it up, and/or applying pesticides. This could be a multi-year process.
  3. Dispose of the dead plants correctly: even though the plant may be dead, the seeds may still be able to grow – and that is actually more dangerous. For this reason, in Minnesota it is illegal to dispose of invasive plants in trash cans or to transport invasive plants, unless it is to a qualified disposal facility. Composting invasive plants may also spread seeds. Here are some suggestions of how to properly dispose of invasives from the Minnesota department of agriculture. 
  4. Think about what you’d like to replace the invasive plant with. It is important to grow something in the same place, so that other invasive species don’t just move in again. Here are some of our suggestions for finding and buying native plants. Also, here’s a great website for exploring more native Minnesota plants and the Minnesota DNR also has some great advice for using native plants in landscaping.