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  • Writer's pictureJohn Chapin

How to Avoid and Remove Invasive Trees From Your Landscape

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), White Mulberry (Morus alba), and Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryanna) are three of the most invasive non-native plants found in Central Indiana. They adapt to thrive in poor soils, wet or dry, full sun to shade, and spread widely by birds eating the fruit. Each can grow to over 30’ tall and wide! They are serious threats to our forests and ecosystems and should never be planted intentionally. While the honeysuckle and mulberry are already illegal to sell or even give away, hopefully Indiana will soon follow the example of several other states by banning sales of any of the flowering pear varieties.

Watch for seedlings of these bothersome plants that sprout in home landscapes. Diminutive at first, they quickly grow to start shading and crowding out ornamental shrubs and trees, disfiguring them in the process, as in the photo above. They are easy to pull out when small, but more difficult to remove when their root systems are more established, which happens in just a few growing seasons. Once their stems become trunks, the task requires loppers or even a chainsaw!

An all-too-common mistake homeowners make when cutting down invasive trees is to not poison the stubs or stumps. If this is not done, the roots will soon send up many shoots, resulting in even more trunks to deal with. Herbicide designed for killing the

root system should be brushed on or squirted on the stubs/stumps ASAP after cutting off the stems/trunks, to be absorbed by the fresh cuts. These herbicides are sold in handy squirt bottles for easy and effective use.

So, keep watch for bothersome seedlings of invasive trees and deal with them properly early on to avoid a lot more work later as well as damage to your landscaping.

Happy gardening!


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