Combat Invasive Species

As an Individual

Most (~89%) of the land in Louisiana is privately owned. Therefore, private landowners are key to managing invasive species here. Take your responsibility seriously to manage invasive species on your property.

First and foremost, before you purchase plants for your landscape or hire someone to landscape your property, do a little research on the species on your plant list. Never purchase invasive plant species. Sadly, even today, some of the many non-native plants available for sale at retail plant nurseries or online are invasive. Always check the scientific (botanical) name to ensure you are purchasing the correct plant. Using common names can be confusing; often the same name is used for different species or a species may go by several different common names. Purchase only native plant species or non-native species that are non-invasive to avoid contributing to the problem of invasive species infesting the natural areas of Louisiana.

Second, survey the plant species currently established on your property. Chances are the species list from this effort will contain at least some invasive species.

Third, develop and implement a plan to eliminate, or at least manage, the invasive species identified on your property. Manual, mechanical, chemical, or some combination of these methods can be used to deal with these species (Tu et al. 2001, Kissling 2022). The most cost-effective method for you to use will depend on the extent of infestation, target species, and plant form (e.g., grass, forb, shrub, or tree) and size. Choose the best approach given your particular situation.

Completely eliminating invasive species from your property may be possible if the area is relatively small, but becomes increasingly more difficult as property size increases. On large properties, managing invasive species may be all that is feasible.

Working toward eliminating invasive species from your property is a long-term process. After initially removing all visible signs of the species, the area must be periodically revisited to remove any seedlings that emerge from seeds already in the soil (seed bank) or that birds deposit in the area after having fed on fruit or seeds in nearby areas infested with invasive plants. If your property experiences a flooding event, look out for an increase in invasive plants after new seeds or plant parts are washed in with the floodwaters. Success may require years of work for large properties, but the amount of work required should gradually diminish each year as the invasive plant populations in the managed area are reduced. Gradually replacing invasive plants that are removed with native species may help to heal the damaged area and speed up the recovery process.

As a Plant Grower and Nursery Owner

  • Become familiar with the list of known invasive Louisiana plants. See Section C, Chapter 6 of the Louisiana Wildlife Action Plan (LA WAP Chapter 6).
  • Growers, ask your breeder whether a plant you plan to propagate has been evaluated for invasive potential. If a new cultivar of an invasive plant has been introduced with a claim of sterility, question whether this cultivar has been tested long enough for its sterility to be assured.
  • Insist on the use of botanical plant names in your growing operation as well as common names. Retailers, be sure all of your plants are tagged with botanical names.  It is only the botanical name that can correctly identify a plant and thus defend whether or not it is invasive.
  • If you have current inventory of a known invasive plant, consider selling that remaining inventory and then discontinue propagating and purchasing this plant.
  • Do any of your ads or public media posts encourage the planting of a known invasive plant, whether you carry that plant or not? If so, cancel them.
  • Your customers are becoming more knowledgeable about the negative effects of invasive plants. Use the fact that you refuse to propagate or sell invasive plants as a marketing tool (we protect our customers’ landscapes – and the planet - from invasive overrun!).
  • Promote the sale and use of native plants. It is fast becoming the most exciting, rewarding, and financially successful trend of the nursery industry!

As a Landscape Professional

  • Learn which plants are classified as invasive in Louisiana from Section C, Chapter 6 of the Louisiana Wildlife Action Plan (Chapter 6).
  • Learn the botanical names of the plants used in your business. Becoming familiar with botanical names will help you correctly distinguish between invasive and non-invasive species.
  • Never use invasive plants in your work. Convince clients who request invasive species in their gardens to use a substitute species that is not invasive.
  • When encouraging clients to go native make these points. Native plants will not only add beauty to your landscape, but native gardens are more resilient, sustainable, and diverse than traditional gardens composed of non-native plants. Gardening with natives also gives the homeowner a sense of place and teaches them about native plants in wild or natural areas.
  • Check whether any of your business ads or public media posts feature or encourage the planting of a known invasive plant, whether you use that plant or not. If so, cancel these ads.
  • Become certified to landscape with native plants. Certification will give you an advantage over your business competition.
  • Your customers are becoming more knowledgeable about the negative effects of invasive plants. Use the fact that you refuse to landscape with invasive plants as a marketing tool.
  • Ask your plant supplier to carry more natives to give you a wider selection from which to choose. Ask whether they would be willing to produce seed plugs or liners for you on a contract basis. If your supplier carries any invasive plant species, try to convince them to discontinue this practice.
  • Promote landscaping with native plants. This is fast becoming an exciting, rewarding, and profitable trend of the landscaping profession.

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