Protect habitat by removing agressive, nonnative plants!
Our water, wildlife, and economy are threatened by invasive species. Plants without predators here in Oregon quickly spread and cover huge areas. Native plants and animals are pushed out, and entire ecosystems and agricultural areas can be seriously degraded or destroyed.
When invasive plant species spread, they often create monocultures, areas without biodiversity dominated by a single species. Monocultures of species such as English ivy and yellow starthistle are poor habitat for wildlife, and they can decimate rangeland used for domestic animals like cattle. Invasive plant species also reduce water quality because their roots do not trap and filter water as well as diverse native plants.
Invasive plants and animals travel by air, land, and sea. Some of the most damaging species in the United States, such as zebra mussels, are carried by ships, but many others are spread on people's shoes, clothes, and luggage. Some are brought here as garden plants, food, or household pets, but they can outcompete natives and spread at an incredible rate when they make their way to the wild. Each arrival is a new threat to the healthy, diverse tapestry of life that makes Oregon unique.
You Can Help
Remove and Report
Below are SOLVE's top nine invasive plants to identify and remove from your own yard. Click on the image to learn more about identification, safe removal, and disposal. Remember to wear gloves!
Learn and Share
Check out SOLVE's Invasive and Native Plant Guide for information on common invasives in your area and the best native plants to replace them with.
Long Term Stewardship
What would happen if restored native plant sites are not maintained? Unfortunately, invasive plants could quickly regrow if they are not weeded out. Lack of water can also kill natives during those first few summers when roots are developing. In order to continue to develop, restoration sites must be maintained for at least the first five years following restoration. Specific maintenance activities depend on the needs of the site but may include those listed below.
One way to help young native plants survive is by applying mulch. Mulching provides ground cover to control weeds and protect soil (limits erosion) while helping plants retain moisture. Mulching also provides nutrients for plants. Applying mulch which includes compost provides the most nutrients to young plants, but all types of mulch will provide nutrients as it decomposes.
Another very effective way to protect young trees, control weeds, and retain moisture is to install used coffee bean bags around them. The bags are made of jute, a type of grass that will decompose in a few years.
Installing Protective Cages
Installing cages around young trees and other native plants protects them from wildlife such as beavers and deer that might otherwise eat them before they have a chance to mature.
Unwanted plants compete with natives for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Removing weeds increases the survival rates for beneficial plants.
Native plants are more resilient, but all plants need water to survive. Eventually the roots of these native plants will be strong and long enough to reach water on their own, but in the first years after being planted they need more assistance. Saturating the ground 3-4 times over the summer should be enough in most cases. Be sure the water penetrates deep into the soil to encourage root growth.
It is important to monitor your project site over time to determine the effectiveness of restoration efforts and what additional maintenance activities may be necessary. Monitor things like vegetation, water quality, and wildlife on your own, or in partnership with organizations operating larger citizen science efforts. You can contribute to big projects by monitoring bees with the Bumble Bee Watch, invasive species with the Oregon Invasive Species Council, or flower bloom times with Budburst for example.
Explore More Resources
The National Wildlife Federation has a great introduction to invasive species.
Cooperative Weed Management Areas, or CWMAs, are a partnership between landowners, government agencies and local organizations working to manage and prevent the spread of invasive plants.
King County, Washington has a great invasive species prevention program and much of the information is relevant here in Oregon as well!
Let’s Pull Together is an organization that organizes annual invasive removal volunteer projects in Central and Southern Oregon.
The No Ivy League started in Portland’s Forest Park, has good resources on how to remove invasive English ivy.
Oregon Association of Conservation Districts Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, including the East Multnomah and West Multnomah districts in the Portland area, are on the front lines of the fight against invasive plants and have many great resources.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Program has good information on invasive plants including profiles of the most common invaders.
Oregon Invasive Species Council: Read up on Oregon's 100 most dangerous invasives and get the latest information on invasive plants and animals. You can also report an invasive species sighting by filling out the online report form or calling 1-866-INVADER
Watch OPB’s award winning documentary, The Silent Invasion.
USDA Forest Service: Invasive Plants and Animals
Garden Smart Guide
In 2008, SOLVE partnered with the Oregon Invasive Species Council, Oregon Public Broadcasting, The Nature Conservancy, and other community organizations to create more awareness about the problem of invasive plants and animals. One product of this partnership was OPB’s award winning documentary The Silent Invasion. Another was the Garden Smart Oregon guide. This booklet, developed in association with The Nature Conservancy, Portland BES, Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Association of Nurseries, highlights the plants that are most likely to cause problems in our yards along with several suggested alternative non-invasive plants that are unlikely to escape into the natural environment. You can download the guide here or request a paper copy by contacting SOLVE at 503-844-9571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.