Clearing Native Land of Invasive Non Native Plants

7/10/2022

Updated: I found a link to a page for invasive plants with information that is searchable by type of plant you want to eliminate. Here is a link to for ideas for removing invasive plants.

After I bought a house in Mid Missouri that came with 6 acres of native land, I wanted to have it fixed up as soon as possible, but its much harder then I ever imagined. I have been gardening for many years and I have been very successful in California. However, restoring native land in the Midwest is an entirely new and difficult dilemma. I am not willing to poison all the plants with round up or other weed killers. If I wipe out all the plants with round up it will hurt the animals that are already living there. I have rabbits, turtles, frogs, and lizards.

If I am clearing out an area that has weeds, I normally remove all the weeds and allow the weed seeds to germinate. I then remove the new weeds before they create seeds. This process should be repeated several times and before applying native seeds. I applied native seeds in the fall to areas that I spend one year allowing the weeds to germinate. The vine honeysuckle grows on the ground and comes back in the spring before the native plants. The vines cover the ground and block light to smother out native plants and seeds. Here is my Youtube Video the vines are the first plant to show green leaves in the spring.

I cut away invasive honeysuckle vines strangling the trees.  But, it’s more than just honeysuckle vines, wild grapes and poison ivy also climb up the trees. I cut the vines at the bottom and try to put them off if I can do so without hurting the tree. I cleared away the plants growing near the bases of the trees, but they grow back within few days. I have used weed killer on some of the non native plants, but they are tough and do not die at once. The bush honeysuckles seem to able to survive repeated attempts with roundup. Digging them out is too much work due to the large numbers of bush honeysuckles in almost all part of the property that have direct sun and because of large size of some of them. There are also huge areas of just blackberries that are impossible to walk through.  It is difficult to even clearing enough vegetation to even be able to access the land. In other words there is such much vegetation, poison ivy and ticks that I can’t even begin to start working on some areas of the land. Only in the spring after the snow melts can one access all of the property. Updated: We are now able to access the property the second year. I was stunned to find people believing that Bush Honeysuckle was good for birds because they eat it. This myth should be disproven. It is always less healthy for animals to eat non native plants instead of native plants that they evolved to eat. See this link about Bush Honeysuckle and birds that eat it for more details. Here is a link for control.

I can’t create a quail sanctuary although I wanted to do it. There are no quail in the area and it’s not possible to buy tame quail and release them. Tests showed tame quail all die right away when placed in the wild. If I planted plants that the quail like they may decide to show up, but they like tall grasses. There is no part of the land that is not affected by non native invasives such as Russian Olives also called Autumn Olives. ¬†With summer more than half over, the only process I have been able to make was clearing the untended garden beds near the house and making them ready of planting. But, I still don’t have all of that done yet, because of the weeds are still reseeding. The only plant I managed to help on the land was a wild strawberry. I cleared away the other plants near it and I watered it from the bird bath, but then it developed powdery mildew because it was too wet and not in full sun. Updated: later on the plant proved to be a weed called Geum canadense. Geum canadense is native but its not desirable. There are almost no good native plants on this so called “natural land” untouched for at least 20 years. I failed but I will continue to try and help plants.

Not wild strawberry turned out to be a weed

Here is a pdf file of technique for invasive tree removal.

The best instructions for clearing native land that has become ruined by invasive plants can be found at Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin. There is no physical location for this nursery. According to the guide below it takes years before one can even begin to plant native seeds. If one plants the native seeds without removing the invasive plants the natives will be overwhelmed by the stronger non native invasive plants. Prairie Nursery dot com guide to native habitat restoration free pdf download or read online click here.

Updated: Article for Japanese Honeysuckle Vine a deep drive into defeating the plant.

Updated: PDF files for Invasive Missouri Plants in my area (Ozark Border) can be found here. My biggest problems are Honeysuckle Vine and Bushes, and Autumn Olives. I don’t have any of the Callery Pear. We have a lot of tree strangling vines such as Climbing Euonymus and Wild Grape Vines. I may not have even identified some of the strangling vines yet. Some of them are poison ivy. I cut them low at the roots. These Persimmon Trees were all covered with vines before we started cutting and clearing. The invasive vegetation was so thick when we bought the property in September of 2021 we could not even walk on it. It was not until the winter of 2021 that we were able to even look at the property to see what was on it.

land
Photo of my land showing Bush Honeysuckles (long and thin) next to Persimmon Trees (with darker bark)

In the winter its best to remove Poison Ivy when its less toxic when dormant. In the summer once tick seasons begins it’s nearly impossible to go out and work, until the ticks die down later when the summer gets hot. The land has to be maintained all year with winter being the best time for clearing out invasive plants.

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