Category Archives: Invasive plant publications

New Children’s Book About NNIS

I just wanted to share information about a new children’s book written by the Potomac Highlands CWPMA, “The Pests that Girdle the Home of Tucker the Turtle.”   The star of the book is Tucker, an Eastern box turtle who was born and raised in WV.  Through the telling of his story, Tucker shares the changes that he has seen as non-native invasive species have spread across his home. Spring wildflowers are disappearing, trees like native hemlocks are dying, and many strange, new critters have taken up residence.  Tucker shares his experiences with fifteen different invasive species including insects, plants, and even a fish!

I am also attaching a few pages from the book for your information: Tucker_Snippet.  More information can be found on the CWPMA’s Website at


Kudzu: The Vine that Ate the…North?

DSCF0042Kudzu (Pueraria montana) has long been known as “the vine that ate the south”.  In recent years, however, it has been gaining a foothold in Ohio.  There are currently more than 60 known locations in the state.  Although the majority of these areas are located in southern Ohio, it can be found across the entire state from Lawrence to Cuyahoga County.  Twenty-two counties are known to have populations of this invasive vine, revealing that cold winters aren’t enough to keep it at bay.

Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition to be planted in its Japanese Garden area.  The large bright green leaves and showy purple flowers quickly led to its use in the horticultural industry, and in the 1930s it was widely planted for erosion control.  From there, its use as livestock forage was discovered, leading to plantings throughout the south to feed cattle.  Ohio has recently joined at least 14 other states in adding kudzu to the state’s noxious weed list.

kudzu irontonThis is a species that poses many threats to our Ohio woodlands.  Kudzu has been shown to have very rapid growth rates (up to a foot a day), and can take over large areas of land relatively quickly.  This vine will grow over anything it encounters, including trees, killing them over time.  Kudzu is very aggressive and can quickly cover an area, blocking sunlight to all native plants.  Once established in an area, kudzu is very difficult to control.  Early detection and removal is the best method for getting rid of it.

glacier2010 486Kudzu has large compound leaves with three leaflets per leaf.  Each of the three leaflets is three to seven inches long and will often have lobes.  Flowers are generally present from June to September, and are two to 12 inch long bright purple clusters similar to pea flowers.  The fruit is present from September to January, and consists of flat, tan, hairy seed pods up to three inches long.  Each seed pod can have three to ten hard seeds.  The young vines are covered with fine yellowish hairs, and the older vines can get up to four inches in diameter.  The main method of spread for kudzu is through above ground runners, although it can also spread by seed.

More information on the control of kudzu can be found at You can also contact Eric Boyda of the Appalachian Ohio Weed Control Partnership by phone at 740-534-6578 or email at  Article by Stephanie Downs

new Aquatic Invaders guide – Crown of Continent

This guide wasn’t made for Ohio, but much of it is relavent.  Check out the section on plants, most of these threaten Ohio.

Jen McBride, an environmental science graduate student, created a pocket guide titled “Aquatic Invasive Species Threatening the Crown of the Continent.” The tool aims to help identify and prevent aquatic invasive species from invading the Crown region. Species included in the guide were selected by agency professionals based on proximity to the Crown, potential impacts of invasion and likelihood of introduction. The 116-page guide will be distributed to land managers and others. View it online.

Cultivating Awareness: Ornamental Plants Invading Natural Areas

MIPN has just completed a video that demonstrates the impacts of a few popular ornamental plants (common buckthorn, Japanese barberry, burning bush, and Callery pear) on natural areas in the Midwest. Please watch and share with your colleagues and neighbors.

The smart phone app mentioned in the video can be downloaded for free from the Apple store for iPhone or iPad. The Android version is coming soon.

Invasive Species: ‘Away-Field Advantage’ Weaker Than Ecologists Thought

May 17, 2013 — For decades, ecologists have assumed the worst invasive species — such as brown tree snakes and kudzu — have an “away-field advantage.” They succeed because they do better in their new territories than they do at home. A new study led by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center reveals that this fundamental assumption is not nearly as common as people might think.

See the link above for the full article text. The article in Ecology is available at

Ripple Effects

Here is a great article about how invasive species can change food webs.

In Yellowstone National Park, invading lake trout have decimated the cutthroat trout that grizzly bears normally eat. Now, hungry grizzlies are preying on the calves of migrating elk instead. Since lake trout took over Yellowstone Lake, the number of cutthroat trout has plunged by more than 90 percent. Grizzly bears that used to feast on […] Read More

Ohio Invasive Plant Council post 18 invasive plant factsheets

The Ohio Invasive Plants Council (OIPC) has posted on their website,, the new factsheets on some of the most problematic invasive plant species in Ohio.   Jennifer Windus coordinated the effort to update these factsheets with the latest information, including best practices in management/control for each, new distribution maps, etc..   Funding for the printing of hard copies of booklets of these 18 factsheets came from an Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) grant from the Ohio Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Here is a direct link to the downloadable factsheets:

Online Minnesota Noxious Weed Guide: a helpful resource to Appalachia Ohio

Minnesota Noxious Weed Guide – online version 2013 updates are complete and it has been posted. It remains at the following link:

The old version has the purple loosestrife on the cover – the 2013 version has non-native phragmites and includes newly listed species.

Although this guide is from Minnesota, it has significant overlap with species found here in Appalachia Ohio and is a good reference to explore.

Inspection and Cleaning Manual for Equipment and Vehicles to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species

This new publication is a little overwelming for a landowner, but is full of useful information about cleaning equipment to reduce the spread of invasive flora and fauna.

DiVittorio, J., M. Grodowitz, and J. Snow, 2012. Inspection and Cleaning Manual for Equipment and Vehicles to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Technical Memorandum No. 86-68220-07-05.


This manual provides uniform guidelines for inspection and thorough cleaning of vehicles and equipment that come in contact with pest and invasive species during Reclamation work. The information in this manual will help personnel to understand how pest and invasive plants and animals are spread and will provide instructions and recommendations to reduce their spread. The general types of equipment described in this manual are: rubber-tired land vehicles, tracked land vehicles, personal use equipment, construction and facility equipment, and watercraft. In addition to inspection and cleaning procedures, a section with descriptions of species of concern is included.

Local author to release new native plant landscaping book March 28th

Frank Porter, a local author and native plant landscaping expert, is pleased to announce the publication of his new book, Back to Eden: Landscaping with Native Plants.

Now is the time to save our natural plant heritage—before it’s too late. In Back to Eden, Frank Porter rediscovers the plants that once covered our landscapes and teaches us the secrets of how to propagate
and grow these botanical treasures. This book is for beginners, as well as the experienced.

Here you’ll:

-Learn how to establish a native plant garden.
-Read about the silent garden invaders.
-Discover how to make a rain garden.
-Grow your garden without fertilizer.
-Understand the importance of using native grasses and plants.
-The information in this book applies to states extending from Maine to Florida and east of the Mississippi River.

Many species are common throughout this vast area. Others are restricted to particular geographic regions. You will discover new plants to incorporate into your garden.