"Invasive Plants are non-indigenous species or strains that become established in natural communities and wild areas, replacing native vegetation" (Invasive Plant Association of Wisconsin Web Site).
Why Should We Care about Invasive Plants?
Students, researchers, and the public come to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve to learn, study, and enjoy nature. Invasive non-native plant species threaten natural areas and restoration efforts. They invade natural areas, killing existing native plants and creating a simplified ecosystem that will not support a diverse set of native animals. They also invade restorations, preventing the establishment of native plants. Many of these invasive plants increase erosion by killing native ground level plants that normally hold soil.
Many invasive plants have become established in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve including:
Garlic Mustard, a ground layer plant, kills native woodland wildflowers by shading them.
Buckthorn and Honeysuckle, shrubs that form brushy thickets, shade out understory plants, create a good home for Garlic Mustard, and increase erosion.
Burdock, a plant with burs, catches human clothing and sometimes traps and kills bats and birds.
Canada Thistle, a particularly persistent and aggressive plant, invades open areas.
Recognize and Manage Invasive Plants
Many organizations have web sites to help people learn about invasive plants including:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Invasive Species: Plants - www.dnr.wi.gov/invasives/plants.htm
Invasive Plant Association of Wisconsin -www.ipaw.org
DNR Invasive Species of the Future - www.dnr.wi.gov/invasives/futureplants/
How You Can Help Control Invasive Plants
Volunteer to help remove invasive plants in the Preserve (see hints for Garlic Mustard below). Give money to help control invasive plants. Remove invasive plants in your own yard. Clean your shoes before you enter the Preserve so that you will not introduce seeds from other areas. Educate yourself about the emerging invasive plants and help control them in your neighborhood (see the last web site above).
Advantages of Controlling Invasive Plants
Controlling invasive non-native plant species in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve will help preserve natural plant and animal diversity and make the area more useful for research and environmental education. Controlling these plants will support efforts to establish native plants on the shorelines, decreasing erosion and stormwater runoff and improving Lake Mendota water quality. Controlling invasive plants will preserve the beauty of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve for future generations.
Garlic Mustard Control
When Garlic Mustard is pulled, be sure to get the root – broken off plants resprout and bloom later.
Bag and landfill all of your Garlic Mustard because second year plants will bloom and produce seeds even if they are pulled.
Volunteers pull Garlic Mustard frequently in the Preserve from mid-April thru mid-June. Contact Cathie Bruner (firstname.lastname@example.org or 265-9275) to participate.