Invasive Plants

Barberry
www.dec.ny.gov

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A technique that works for just about all unwanted invaders is smothering, which works by blocking out the light, weakening and killing most any pest.

For a surefire smothering strategy, start in the early spring. First, rescue any desirable plant from the area, and let the invasive plant get a few inches tall. Then cut it right down to the ground. Immediately cover the whole area with sections of folded newspaper at least four pages thick, but avoid using pages printed with color. Overlap the sections like shingles, leaving no gaps. Hide and anchor the newspaper with a layer of your favorite organic mulch. A sheet of black plastic can also be used.

Steering clear of invasive plants means doing some homework before choosing new perennials, and using common sense when reading plant descriptions.

  • Go on garden tours in your area to learn what thrives where.
  • Ask experienced gardeners about plants that are new to you, and read descriptions in gardening books and on the Internet.
  • Think twice when you see plants with the word weed in their name.
  • Watch out for those plants advertised as “good spreaders” or “great ground covers.”
  • Learn to recognize mint and all its relatives: square stems with leaves positioned directly opposite each other.
  • Don't transplant wild plants into your garden.

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