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Plant This, Not That: Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Invasive Plants - Wild Roots
An invasive species is one that is not only non-native to a region, but escapes cultivation and damages local ecosystems. They out-compete native species and disrupt the food web, causing harm to the environment, economy, and human health (such as water quality and increased populations of pests like ticks). Once you get to know the more common invasive species, you start to notice them everywhere. One prevalent example is English ivy. When you see that plant wrapped around the trunks of trees, crawling over branches, it’s killing that tree. Not very charming, right? Learn a simple way to remove English ivy here. As more people learn about the havok invasive plants wreak, groups are coming together to take action. Invasive strike teams here in New Jersey and across the country do the challenging but important work of identifying and removing the plants to protect our ecosystems. There’s even an app for reporting invasives in New Jersey. Still, it never ceases to amaze me how many of these plants are still widely available in garden centers and used by professional landscapers. Bad habits are hard to break, and some species simply look familiar to homeowners who have no idea about the damage caused. That’s changing, however, as interest in protecting the environment and planting natives grows. You can do right by wildlife and your local ecosystem, and encourage your neighbors to do the same, using these native alternatives to invasive species. Native plant alternatives to invasive species Here, we provide lots of examples of native plants that share certain visual characteristics with a common invasive, starting with English Ivy. Give some of these beautiful native alternatives a try. Not only will wildlife be happier, I think you’ll end up preferring them too. English Ivy Alternatives If you like English Ivy, a reminder of classic English gardens that really just strangling everything it climbs, there are a ton of alternatives you’ll love: Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens), an evergreen groundcover that does well in shade but does need moisture. And guess what – this is a great alternative to Japanese Pachysandra too! Green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum): This is an evergreen groundcover that produces masses of yellow spring flowers that bloom from April through October. You can divide larger clumps to cover more space over time. Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) – One of our favorite spring bloomers, foamflower has lovely, ivy-like leaves and beautiful white and…