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Invasive Plants

Best Control Practices

  • Autumn Olive

    A deciduous shrub native to Asia, autumn Olive was propagated as a source of food and cover for wildlife. It was later determined that autumn olive is a destructive force on the Michigan landscape. Its rapid reproduction and widespread distribution create monocultures, shading out native plants and reducing diversity. Learn about controlling Autumn Olive here.

  • Black Locust

    The black locust is a tree species native to the Ozarks and Appalachians. It was brought to Michigan where it spread through oak savannas and pine barrens, both critical habitat for a host of rare species. The excess leaf litter and nitrogen-fixing qualities of black locust alters soil chemistry, slowing succession and encouraging growth of weedy and non-native plants. Learn about controlling Black Locust here.

  • Common Buckthorn

    A large tree native to Eurasia, Common Buckthorn was introduced to the United States as an ornamental plant. Common Buckthorn produces large quantities of fruits which are widely distributed by birds and contribute to the rapid spread of the species. The high nitrogen content of fruits and leaves can alter soil chemistry inhibiting growth of native species and impacting the seed bank for many years. Learn about controlling Common Buckthorn here.

  • Glossy Buckthorn

    More shrub-like than Common Buckthorn, Glossy Buckthorn was planted as a cover source for wildlife until its invasive potential was realized. The primary threat from Glossy Buckthorn is the dense branching structure which shades out native species and the potential to encroach on sensitive ecosystems including wetlands, prairies and fens throughout the state. Learn about controlling Glossy Buckthorn here.

  • Japanese Barberry

    This shrub native to Japan was introduced as an ornamental landscape plant in part for its resistance to deer herbivory. The dense structure of Japanese Barberry and the retention of leaves throughout much of the year allows the shrub to overtake forested sites, shading out plants that provide food resources for deer and other wildlife. Recently Japanese Barberry was also linked to increases in Lyme disease as the shrub hosts higher levels of insects and animals that carry the disease. Learn about controlling Japanese Barberry here.    

  • Japanese Knotweed

    Also native to Japan, Japanese Knotweed was purposely introduced as an ornamental species. Japanese Knotweed forms extremely dense monocultures, spreads rapidly by roots, plant fragments and rhizomes and has substantial negative impacts on native ecosystems as it releases toxic chemicals into the soil. The plant has also been known to erode stream banks, crack drain pipes and destroy foundations as its roots spread. This plant is illegal to possess or introduce into Michigan due to its harmful impacts. Learn more about controlling Japanese Knotweed here.

  • Oriental Bittersweet

    A vine species native to parts of Southern Asia, Oriental Bittersweet was introduced as an ornamental plant. The vine attaches itself to trees, siphoning resources and if uncontrolled, eventually destroys the tree. Oriental Bittersweet spreads from tree to tree, creating safety hazards as standing dead trees become vulnerable to wind and ice. Learn about controlling Oriental Bittersweet here.

  • Phragmites

    A wetland associated plant native to Australia, this grass like species spreads rapidly via many mechanisms and forms dense monocultures which block shorelines, reduce recreational access and substantially decrease diversity in sensitive wetland environments. For more information on controlling Phragmites click here.  

  • Swallow-wort

    Native to the interior of Europe and parts of Russia these two herbaceous plants were introduced for unknown reasons. The plants commonly overtake forested areas and have numerous properties that inhibit growth and survival of other species. These plants can be toxic to mammals and produce negative effects that cascade throughout the forest food chain. Learn about controlling Black and Pale Swallow-worts here.

Identify Invasive Plants

Report an Invasive Plant

DNR Invasive Plant Strategy

Requirements for Possession of Live Prohibited and Restricted Organisms




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