More Information About Invasive And Native Plants

Most yards in the U.S. are hosting invasive species in them.  There are many websites from which you can learn more about invasive plants and how to get rid of them.  Here are a few resources:

North Carolina Invasive Plant Council 

A Management Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests

Invasive and Exotic Species of North America

The native plant species you put in your yard should be dictated by several factors, for example, the ecological zone are you in, whether the area you want to plant is in the sun or shade, and if the area is at the top of a hill, the bottom, or on a slope.

Here are a few resources from which you can learn about the plants native to your area:

The N.C. Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The Biota of North America Program

 Ecoregions of North America


Some common invasive plants used in landscaping  that are damaging our environment

Grasses and grass-like plants

Bamboo (Bambusa species)

Chinese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis)

Common reedgrass (Phragmites australis)

Maidengrass (Miscanthus sinensis)

Monkey grass (Liriope species)

Running bamboo (Phyllostachys species)

Zebra grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

 

Trees

Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana)

Empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa)

Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)

Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

 

Shrubs

Autumn olive (Eleagnus species)

Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)

Chinese privet (Ligustrum species)

Chinese holly and its many cultivars such as

     'Burford' and 'Nellie Stevens' (Ilex

     cornuta x.)

Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)

Japanese holly and its many cultivars (Ilex

     crenata x.)

Japanese privet (Ligustrum species)

Largeleaf lantana (Lantana camara)

Leatherleaf (Mahonia bealii)

Russian olive (Eleagnus species)

Sacred bamboo (Nandina domestica)

 

Vines

Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

Creeping wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)

English ivy (Hedera helix)

Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)

Periwinkle (Vinca major, Vinca minor)

Porcelainberry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)

 

Perennials

Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)

Chameleon plant (Houttunya cordata)

Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album)

Largeleaf lantana (Lantana camara)

Mountain bluet (Centaurea montana)

Asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis)

Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Yellow archangel (Lamium maculatum or

     Lamiastrum)

Dealing with invasive plants

The most important thing to do is to try to prevent them from spreading further!  Do this by preventing the release of seeds--   cut off all the flowers and fruits and put them in the garbage so they can be killed in the landfill.

When removing invasive plants, it is important that you remove or kill the roots of the plant.  If the roots remain alive in the soil, then the plant can keep sprouting back over and over again!  Once you have removed the roots from the soil, make sure they do not touch soil again, or they may actually re-root themselves and grow back.  You can put them in the garbage, or simply make sure they die.  I accomplish the latter by either spreading them out on a concrete surface or hanging them up in other vegetation to ensure the roots will dry out and die. 

Native plants that give back  to our environment

Grasses and grass-like plants

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)

Oak sedge (Carex pennsylvanicus)

Purple top (Tridens flavus)

Splitbeard bluestem (Andropogon ternarius)

Spreading sedge (Carex laxiculmis)

Switchgrass (Panicum species)

 

Trees

any oak! (Quercus species)

black cherry (Prunus serotina)

Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

 

Shrubs

Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

Dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor)

Florida anise (Illicium floridanum)

Golden St. John's wort (Hypericum frondosum)

Inkberry holly (Ilex glabra)

Leucothoe (Agarista populifolia)

Oak-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)

Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Viburnum (many species!)

Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera, Morella cerifera)

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)

 

Vines

American wisteria (Wisteria fructescens)

Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Climbing aster (Ampelaster carolinianus)

Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)

Maypops (Passiflora incarnata)

Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

 

Perennials

Alumroot (Heuchera americana)

Bleeding heart (Dicentra canadensis or eximia)

Eastern columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Fire pink (Silene virginica)

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)

Phlox (many species)

Tickseed (many species of Coreopsis)

Wild geranium (Geranium maculata)

Obtaining and using native plants in your landscape

There are often a few native plant species for sale at your local garden center, but you may need to search a bit more to find natives for your yard.  Here are some of my favorite places from which to purchase native plants:

Carolina Heritage Nursery

Carolina Native Nursery

Dearness Gardens

Nearly Native Nursery

Your local Native Plant Society probably has plant sales.  There are also many good groups out there from which you can learn a great deal.  My favorite is Pollinator Friendly Yards.