Invasive Plants, Be Gone!
By Heather Raithby Doyle
What are invasive plants in Ontario?
People know that invasives are bad for the environment but have no idea why. If you'd like to learn more about invasive plants and what you can do to help our forests, here are some places to find good info AND an opportunity to actually get out there and accomplish something!
“Invasive terrestrial plants in a forest ecosystem can be trees, shrubs, or herbaceous plants that have been moved from their native habitat to an introduced area where they are able to reproduce quickly and crowd out native species. These plants are introduced and spread by infested packaging material, seed dispersal by both environmental and human sources, or by escaping from gardens.” (http://www.invadingspecies.com/invaders/terrestrial-plants/)
See photos and learn more about plants that are invasive in Ontario. You may be surprised (horrified?) to see common garden plants on “the list" like periwinkle, English Ivy, Burning Bush and more.
Why do invasive plants matter?
“Invasive plants impact species diversity and species richness by competing heavily for resources such as light, moisture and soil nutrients that native plants require to establish and grow. These changes in species composition may affect wildlife that are adapted to native plant communities. Ultimately, invasive plants affect the intricate linkages that make ecosystems strong and resilient. For example, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) often out-competes native woodland herbs like white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) by changing the soil chemistry and making it less suitable for these native species.” https://www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca/invasive-plants/impacts/
What can I do?
Follow these tips:
Identify and remove invasives from your garden and tell your neighbours too. Those who live next to natural areas must take extra care. Put the plants in a garbage bag in the sun to “cook” before disposing of the bag in the garbage (not in compost or yard waste as seeds can remain viable).
Wash boots, shoes, pets fur, and ATVs etc to avoid spreading seeds from one area to another
Minimize soil disturbance
Don’t transfer gravel or earth that has invasive plants to another area
Monitor and remove invasive plants before they become widespread.
Eat it to beat it. Recipes for Garlic Mustard here: https://www.co.wood.wi.us/Departments/LandConservation/Brochures/Garlic%20Mustard%20Recipes.pdf
You can report sightings of invasive plants in the wild: https://www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca/invasive-plants/report-a-plant/
The City of Mississauga will be supporting a citizen lead initiative to identify and remove invasive plants near Mississsauga’s Adamson Estate on June 2, 2022, 6-8 pm. To register and for more details: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/adamson-estate-invasive-species-removal-event-tickets-34184422427
Below: Pictured at Adamson Estate forest the invasive garlic mustard, English ivy, Japanese knotweed. Photos ©2022_Heather Raithby Doyle