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My property has invasive plants! So what?

Invasive species are plants that are nonnative and that can be harmful to humans, the economy and/or the environment. Invasive species are the plant bullies of the neighborhood. For example, Japanese knotweed--a bamboo-like plant brought to the United States for landscaping purposes in the 1800s--completely takes over plant growth where it has been introduced. Its root-and-stem system is so strong that it can grow through pavement and can also damage foundations. It is persistent and spreads easily and by many means, including its seeds and bamboo-like stalks. To remove it from the soil, you have to get rid of every aspect of the plant, right down to the massive root system. Unfortunately, pulling out knotweed won't do that, because part of the roots, called rhizomes, stay in the soil. Many herbicide attempts also fail to reach the rhizomes.

New Hampshire has more than two dozen invasive species, including Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), and Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora). Removal and treatment of invasive species are estimated to cost the United States $34.7 billion annually (in 2012) (1). That is more than $100 year for each person in our country (2).


Most plants have roots in the soil and leaves that use the sunlight to make their food. The plant's job is to produce flowers, or nuts and other seeds, so that the species can continue. Those plants that have been here in New Hampshire for a very long time, such as Trillium, Lady Slipper, and Trout Lily, are native plants. Native plants have adjusted to the environment and live in balance and harmony with other plants and animals.

Another kind of plant, nonnative plants, have come from somewhere else, and frequently we brought them here because we thought they would be good for us or our environment. The potato, for instance, was first grown in South America for food. Potatoes were then introduced to Europe by the Spanish; from Europe, the potato spread around the world and into our gardens and grocery store shelves.

They play well with the other plants in the environment.


Contact me if you want help controlling the invasive plant species that are taking over your property and/or causing damage.


(1) Table p. 306,

(2) approximate value of $34.7 billion divided by US population (316,651,321 est.) in 2012 (date of the study)

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