Avoid Invasive Plants

Invasive Species of Concern 

There are plants that I often advise our gardners to avoid, and in some cases removed from properties. If you are considering installing new shrubs/trees, or looking to plant new perennial plants we recommend checking with your local nursery to see what specific plants are invasive in your area. 

In Northern Illinois, there is a major problem with invasive Buckthorn, which spreads easily through seeds carried by birds or wind. These seeds can turn into shrubs and small trees if allowed to flourish in an area, and are being found and removed in many forest preserves in Cook, Dupage and Lake County Illinois. Removing buckthorn can be difficult as the plant has thorns and can drop seeds, so be careful if you are planning to remove it. 

One big problem with Buckthorn is that it suffocates other plants in the area, killing off native plants,  taking water, nutrients, and sunlight away from native plants.  Erosion is a major concern and is found in areas where Buckthorn has taken over. While they do not produce long roots and soak up water, increased flooding and erosion in soil is the result of this plant taking over. 

Learn more about getting rid of buckthorn by visiting OPENLANDS: Getting Rid of Buckthorn

Burning Bush is a common find in northern Illinois gardens but it has been recently named an invasive plant, and is no longer being recommended for planting. As these plants begin to grow in local nature areas, and woodlands, gardeners should be wary about planting new bushes, and consider removing them from their gardens to avoid them being spread to other places. 

Invasive plants can often travel from one area to another fairly quickly. While you might not notice it, birds and animals can help seeds travel for miles. Sometimes, planting invasive plants in your garden can affect your neighbor’s garden if the plants are left unattended and go to seed, or begin to multiply over a number of years. Ferns can jump from garden to garden, as well as some grasses and perennials, and neighbors may not always appreciate the new additions to their garden. Make sure to learn about the plants you are choosing to add to your garden area, read the tags, and consider which plants would travel to a neighboring property before planting. 

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