The term “invasive plant species” may sound somewhat dramatic when you first hear it, but this type of fauna is more than just a few weeds growing in places where they aren’t wanted. Invasive species are non-native plants (fauna that was brought from their native lands to somewhere else) that overrun the native plants that live there.
Invasive plant species cause erosion and can even negatively affect the surrounding water. They can kill important trees that provide shade and oxygen as well as increase the odds of wildfires in the area that they inhabit. So, in a nutshell, they’re a problem. This is why we’ve put together a few ways that you can permanently get rid of them if they start to grow around your home.
Make Sure That the Plants Actually Are an Invasive Species
One thing that you want to be sure of is that the plants actually are an invasive species. While a lot of some sort of weed growing in your garden can be irritating, that doesn’t mean that it’s invading your yard. If you aren’t sure, you can ask your local nursery staff for help in identifying them.
How to Remove Invasive Species
There are many ways to get rid of invasive plants. Some methods may take more work than others, but with time and patience, you can get rid of the plant.
Method #1: Get Out There and Dig
1. Your first step is going to be to cut the plants as close to the ground as you possibly can with garden shears. Do not mow or trim them because if you do, the mower/trimmer could scatter seeds all over the place and end up just spreading the invasive fauna elsewhere in your yard;
2. Gather all the clippings and either burn them or dump them in a tightly tied off trash bag so that they don’t take root anywhere else;
3. Go dig up the roots with a garden hoe or fork, remove them from the soil and quickly dispose of them;
4. Turn the soil multiple times to get rid of any leftover plant remains. It might get a little tedious, but it has to be done to get rid of all of the invasive plant’s remaining pieces to keep them from coming back;
5. Once you’ve done this, you can either spray a preemergent herbicide to keep any seeds from sprouting or if you wish to do it organically, use vinegar as a substitute for herbicide. In fact, boiling water could even do the trick;
6. At this point, it’s pretty much rinse and repeat, you are going to have to keep pulling up new ground cover plants and whatever grows above ground as soon as they pop up. You’re very likely going to have some remaining pockets of invasive plants but if you keep at it, you can eventually remove all of the unwanted species.
Method #2: Smother the Invasive Plant
This method is admittedly a bit simpler than the first. You’ll likely achieve better results if you cut the invasive plant as low as you can to the ground (with shears) first. Once you do that, use either mulch, carpet, black carpet, or anything else that the plants can’t grow through for at least one growing season. If the plant makes clones of itself, then make sure all the stems are covered.
Method #3: Flood the Invasive Plant
Here, you’re essentially drowning the plant into submission. It should be noted though, that you can really only use this method if you’re able to control the water to where you can keep the cut plants completely covered for a while. How deep the water needs to be and how long the invasive species will need to be covered depends on the type of plant in question.
Method #4 Mow/Cut/Trim the Plant Away
Yes, we did say earlier that cutting/mowing/trimming can scatter seeds all over the place, so this technique should only be employed if the plant hasn’t flowered yet. Apply herbicide to the cut stems or re-sprouts and make sure you keep an eye out for re-flowering.
Getting rid of invasive plants can seem to be a Herculean task, but if you’re willing and able to put in the work, it can be done. There are many ways in which you can get rid of invasive plant species, but the methods on this list are among the least potentially hazardous and the most accessible.
If there are some ways to get rid of invasive plant species that we didn’t list, let us know what they are and how they worked for you (or if they didn’t). We like hearing about you guys’ experiences with these kinds of things!