Many of us have been able to spend more time observing the plants and landscape around our homes and property over the last two summers.  So, what were your observations? Are there plants taking over your landscape, timber, or open areas?  Are they invasive plants or just nuisance plants?   

Join Illinois Extension Energy and Environmental Stewardship Educator Jay Solomon on Thursday, November 11 at the Elizabeth Community Building, HWY 20 W. Elizabeth, IL for a discussion on nuisance/problematic plants and invasive plants. The program will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. There is no fee to attend the program, but pre-registration is requested by November 10. 

“It is important to distinguish between the two groups of plants,” Solomon points out.  “Invasive plants by definition are non-native, introduced by humans and do/can cause environmental or economic harm.  Nuisance plants are defined as causing management issues or other damage.  Many native plants can become a nuisance in disturbed soils of landscapes and other areas.”

The workshop will delve into how to identify the differences and management methods.  Fall is an excellent time to identify and work on controlling many of these plants in our landscapes, timber, and prairie areas.  Woody invasive plants such as autumn olive, buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, and multiflora rose are easier to identify and manage this time of year.

Why should we be concerned about invasive plants? “These plants are classified as invasive species because they are not native to the area and have distributive growth habits. They establish easily and displace native plants in our landscape without providing the same benefits to nature,” comments Solomon. “For example, bush honeysuckle can take over the understory of a forest area. Preventing tree seedlings from establishing, reducing safe and suitable nesting locations for song birds, and the berries provide a lower nutrition level for these birds. There are no winners except the bush honeysuckle.”

What about nuisance plants?  “The wet spring followed by dry summer/fall has opened the door for some plants to become a noticeable nuisance.  Some ground covers, creeping vines, mulberry, Pokeweed, and hemlock have grown well this year.  We will discuss concerns and management ideas for these. 

Why right now?  “Woody invasive plants tend to be the last to go dormant in the winter,” Solomon continues.  “Leaving the green plants in an otherwise dormant landscape, easy to locate. They are building up nutrient stores in the roots, which make them more vulnerable to control measures.” Mechanical (cutting or pulling), chemical control, and combinations of methods will be discussed.

This program will also be offered in Freeport at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau, 210 W Spring St. on Wednesday, November 10 from 6:30-8 pm.   Please register by Tuesday, November 9 - Register for Freeport