The invasive species listed collectively cover less than 5% of the property


What is this?

A small number of plants that have arrived on this landscape since European settlement are so capable of wreaking havoc for both people and ecosystems that we call them invasive. Buckthorn is a well-known example. Some folks are fortunate to have purchased properties that have very few invasives (newer subdivision lots on former farm fields tend to fall into this group). Other folks aren’t as lucky (especially on wooded lots with privacy shrubs).

Invasive Plant Species

Barberry, Japanese Berberis thunbergii
Bittersweet, oriental Celastrus orbiculatus
Buckthorn, common Rhamnus cathartica
Buckthorn, glossy Frangula alnus
Burning bush    (View Video) Euonymus alatus
Canada thistle Cirsium arvense
Cattail, hybrid Typha x glauca
Cattail, narrow-leaved Typha angustifolia
Crown vetch Securigera varia
Flowering rush Butomus umbellatus
Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata
Hedge parsley, field Torilis arvensis
Hedge parsley, Japanese Torilis japonica
Honeysuckle, Asian bush Lonicera maackii, L. morrowii, L. tatarica and L. x bella
Honeysuckle, Japanese Lonicera japonica
Japanese Knotweed Poygonum cuspidatum
Moneywort/ Creeping Jenny Lysimachia nummularia
Multiflora rose Rosa multiflora
Phragmites Phragmites australis
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Reed canary grass Phalaris arundinacea
Sweetclover, white Melilotus alba
Sweetclover, yellow Melilotus officinalis
Teasel, common Dipsacus fullonum
Teasel, cut-leaved Dipsacus laciniatus
Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus

Aquatic Invasives

Brazilian elodea Egeria densa
Curly-leaf pondweed Potamogeton crispus
Eurasian watermilfoil Myriophyllum spicatum
Water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes
Water lettuce Pistia stratiotes


How do I do this?

On my own

Many people unintentionally have invasive species on their properties and it helps when they can be aware of the issue and thoughtful about it. It’s really nice if your resources allow you to slowly but surely eliminate your invasives over time and maybe even replace them with natives. It’s one of the biggest gifts you can give to support Lake County’s treasured natural heritage.    

  1. Identify the plants in your landscape, or request a property visit so we can help.  If there is something growing very well that is spreading and you never planted it, that may be a clue!  Different control techniques work for different species and many can be controlled simply by pulling or cutting. Try this identification and control guide or more invasive species information on our website.
  2. If you need to herbicide, please:
    • Stick to calm days with no rain in the forecast and with temperatures appropriate for the chemical you’re using.
    • Use the right chemical for the right species at the right time of year. Here’s a great guide.
    • The label is there to help you be safe and successful, so take a few minutes to read it. 
    • Save money while helping the environment – use the minimal amount needed to do the job.
    • Protect your skin and eyes and wash up thoroughly when done.
    • Label and store leftovers carefully so curious kids and pets are safe.
  3. If you have a lot of invasive species to deal with, here are some tips on prioritizing:
    • It helps to think about where each species is coming from and where it’s going.
    • Attack any newly arrived species before it gets firmly established.
    • Defend ecological treasures – whether on your property or nearby. Sometimes it helps to just draw an imaginary line on the ground and vow to keep invaders from crossing it.
    • Don’t let it go to seed. We repeat, don’t let it go to seed.  
    • Perhaps you can team up with a neighbor for extra impact or cost savings?
    • Hired contractors can be surprisingly affordable sometimes, especially during slow seasons. A good contractor knows the best way to attack these species. (See below)
  4. Don’t purchase invasive plants or cultivars – some are banned but others are still on the market. For instance, many of us have barberry and burning bush on our properties. If your resources allow you to replace them it would be fabulous.

Hire some help

There are various companies available that control invasive plants in home landscapes. Hired contractors can be surprisingly affordable sometimes, especially during slow seasons. A good contractor knows the best way to attack these species. Below are some companies to consider (listed alphabetically) and there are undoubtedly others that are also good. No matter who does the job, this handy checklist makes it easier:

  1. Communicate clearly about which plants to remove. Make sure targeted areas are marked with flagging or ribbon and the contractor has good plant identification skills. Mark and discuss areas of your property that are off-limits for travelling across or for disposal of cuttings. Limit the amount of traffic beneath oak trees as much as possible. 
  2. Be specific about what will happen to the cuttings. Will they be chipped and removed, burned on site, left where they drop, or something else? 
  3. ­­­Demand exceptional handling of chemicals. When arranging work for our own properties, we require that every cut stem and stump promptly be treated with proper herbicides. We also require operators to be state-licensed and follow label requirements for everything ranging from weather conditions to clean-up. And we require the addition of a non-toxic dye soit’s easy to see what’s been treated. 
  4. Standard details. Don’t forget things like references, payment, expected date of completion and whether or not you want to be on site when work takes place.

Applied Ecological Services             

Conservation Land Stewardship      


Hey and Associates                        

Integrated Lakes Management        

Liberty Prairie Restorations             

McGinty Brothers                           

Native Restoration Services             

Pizzo and Associates                       

Red Buffalo                                    

Tallgrass Restoration                       

Turning Leaf

Witness Tree                                   

Woodland Restorations, Inc.             

Why is this important?

If you remove invasive species from your property, Lake County's natural areas will be buffered from ecological stress and, depending on the site, water will be cleaner and soil will be healthier.

Invasive plants grow fast, produce lots of seeds, and have high germination rates. They tend to leaf out early in spring and stay green long after our natives have gone dormant – giving them a huge energy boost. In addition, these plants have few predators, pests, or diseases here in the U.S. As a result, many native plant species – and the wildlife that depend upon them – disappear from our woodlands, prairies, and wetlands. Many other aspects of ecosystem health can suffer as well, including soil chemistry, hydrology, structure and resilience.

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