With spring now upon us, Iowa’s forest floors and acreages are gradually turning green. And while many of the plants that are emerging are beneficial, some are also considered invasive and should be controlled.
To help identify and control invasive plant species, the Natural Resource Stewardship program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a collection of new articles, with photos and videos of at least eight different species.
“Invasive species are a significant challenge affecting the health of Iowa’s natural communities,” said Adam Janke, assistant professor and extension wildlife specialist with Iowa State. “The most problematic invasive species are also not native to Iowa, and lack natural predators or other factors that would keep their populations in check.”
Without those natural checks, Janke said exotic invasives take over natural areas and make it harder for native plants and wildlife to survive.
The invasive species information is featured in the March-April edition of the Acreage Living newsletter. Species listed include buckhorn, burning bush, garlic mustard, honeysuckle, Japanese barberry, multiflora rose, oriental bittersweet, reed canary grass and tree of heaven.
When species become invasive, they often reduce biodiversity by out-competing native species, which can disrupt entire ecosystems and even hurt economic markets like timber production or grassland forage quality. Specialists from ISU Extension and Outreach’s natural resources program encourage all Iowans to get an eye for problematic invasive species and learn how to act on them if and when they find them on a farm or acreage.