Invasive Plants News

Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference - October 2012

2012 North American Invasive Plant Ecology and Management Short Course

UConn scientist develops sterile variety of invasive plant. Scientific breakthrough could help restore the popular ornamental shrub Euonymus alatus, otherwise known as burning bush, to prominence in commercial marketplace.

Professor Yi Li's Laboratory in the University of Connecticut's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has developed a seedless variety of the popular ornamental shrub Euonymus alatus, also called 'burning bush,' that retains the plant's brilliant foliage yet eliminates its ability to spread and invade natural habitats. Read more....

Swallow-wort Biocontrols Pass Test - click the link to read more

"Weevils making progress against invasive vines in Greenwich" - Click here to read an article about biocontrol of mile-a-minute vine in Connecticut.

"Scientists link invasive barberry to Lyme disease" - Click here to read an article about research showing how Japanese barberry creates moist, cool shelters that harbor ticks that carry the Lyme disease bacteria.

Presentations available from the National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2011 conference. Go to the NISAW website at www.nisaw.org/2011/presentations.html.

Article on the effect of the removal of garlic mustard on mycorrhizal fungi - of interest to those concerned with the recovery of native plant communities after garlic mustard control. See citation below:

Anderson, R.C.M. Rebecca Anerson, Jonathan T. Bauer, Mitchell Slater, Jamie Herold, Patrice Baumhardt and Victoria Borowicz. 2010. "Effect of Removal of Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata, Brassicaeae) on Arbuscular Mycorrihizal Fungi Inoculum Petential in Forest Soils. The Open Ecology Journal 3:41-47

2 articles on the effects of Kudzu on Ozone Production

"Invasive Plant Poisons Our Air":


"Kudzu linked to poor air quality":


New Site Scoring Method: Index of Alien Impact (IAI). Read the abstract of an article from Environmental Management titled: "Index of Alien Impact: A Method for Evaluating Potential Ecological Impact of Alien Plant Species".

Oregon bans the sale of English ivy, butterfly bushes (from The Oregonian). The Oregon Department of Agriculture has banned the transport, sale or propagation of English ivy, which threatens to smother trees in Portland’s Forest Park. Sandy Diedrich would be clacking her loppers in approval. The Oregon Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday it is banning the sale, transport or propagation of English ivy, a creeping scourge that threatens to smother much of the late Diedrich's beloved Forest Park.

In announcing the ban of English ivy and butterfly bushes, the agency officials called them invasive, noxious weeds that are a threat in Oregon because they out-compete native plants. English ivy is particularly pernicious. It tolerates shade, allowing it to cover the ground, smother the competition and hog water and soil nutrients. Once it's won the ground war, it climbs trees or buildings, where it matures, spreads its seeds and can kill host trees. In the Portland area, volunteer ivy pullers scour parks and trails to keep it under control.

Diedrich, who worked for the Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation, formed the "No Ivy League" in 1994 with the intent of protecting Forest Park, which covers 5,000 acres in the city's northwest hills. The Forest Park Conservancy estimates that nearly half the park is infested with English ivy, and school, church and scout work parties are a common sight.

Read the full text of the article at: www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2010/02/oregon_bans_sale_of_english_iv.html

"Milfoil is foiled by herbicide on Minnetonka bays." As milfoil spread, so does interest in using chemicals to control it on Lake Minnetonka.  Two years into a five-year test of herbicides to control Eurasian water milfoil on Lake Minnetonka, results are so encouraging that more shoreline property owners are asking for the chemical treatment in their bays.  Read full article text.

"Over time, an invasive plant loses its toxic edge" - Adam Davis, of the USDA, Illinois Natural History Survey postdoctoral researcher Richard Lankau and INHS plant ecologist Greg Spyreas found that the invasive garlic mustard plant produces lower levels of a defensive toxin after about three decades in a new location. Read this interesting study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences at http://news.illinois.edu/news/09/0901garlicmustard.html

"Rapid Evolution of Exotic Plants" - John Maron, University of Montana, in collaboration with Dr. Montserrat Vilá, conducted a study as to whether St. John's Wort from introduced populations show evidence of rapid evolutionary change in response to an altered abiotic or biotic environment in North America. Read about the study at http://dbs.umt.edu/research_labs/maronlab/invasion.htm

Land Manager and Researcher Perspectives on Invasive Plant Research Needs in the Midwestern United States - This article grew out of a project conducted by the Midwest Invasive Plant Network's Research Committee and was published in the January - March, 2009 issue of Invasive Plant Science & Management.

Click here for the PDF of the full text.

Fungus Tapped to Take on Kudzu - Article by Jan Suszkiw, Agricultural Research Service, USDA


Kudzu, "The Vine that Ate the South," could meet its match in a naturally occurring fungus that Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have formulated as a biologically based herbicide.

Click on the link above for the full article text.

Why Invasive Plants Take Over - Article by Don Comis, Agricultural Research Service, USDA


New research shows that two key causes of plant invasion--escape from natural enemies, and increases in plant resources--act in concert. This result helps to explain the dramatic invasions by exotic plants occurring worldwide. It also indicates that global change is likely to exacerbate invasion by exotic plants.

Click on the link above for the full article text.

Climate Change Opens New Avenue For Spread Of Invasive Plants


ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2008) -- Plants that range northward because of climate change may be better at defending themselves against local enemies than native plants.

So concludes a team of scientists including a University of Florida geneticist. The team's findings, reported online in the journal Nature, suggest that certain plants could become invasive if they spread to places that were previously too cold for them.

See the link above for the full article text.

Northwest Indiana Invasive Plant Network (NIIPN) has a blog featuring discussions about many aspects of invasive plant identification, monitoring, and control. To review discussions and to sign up, go to: http://niiipn.blogspot.com

The Weed Science Society of America has a new publication, the "Invasive Plant Science and Management" Journal. The web site is: http://wssa.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-archive

Strategies for Effective State Early Detection/Rapid Response Programs for Plant Pests and Pathogens

The Environmental Law Institute has published “Strategies for Effective State Early Detection/Rapid Response Programs for Plant Pests and Pathogens,” a report by attorney Read Porter that assesses the utility of state early detection and rapid response (ED/RR) laws for identifying and stopping the spread of invasive plant pests and pathogens.  The report focuses on invasive forest pests, which are often poorly controlled by agriculture-centric response laws and which may infect or infest suburban or urban areas, raising the specter not only of environmental damage but also significant economic and aesthetic costs. 

The report describes components of a successful ED/RR regulatory structure, explains federal regulations that affect state action for each component, examines the strengths and weaknesses of specific laws in fourteen states that have responded to invasive pathogens, and examines the performance of ED/RR laws in practice via in-depth case studies from New York and Texas.  Porter concludes that states must enact laws that balance the need for broad state agency authority to act against the need to preserve private property rights, respect landowners’ privacy, and sustain public support. 

This report was produced by the Environmental Law Institute with funding and guidance from The Nature Conservancy.  The report is available free of charge from ELI’s website, at www.elistore.org/reports_detail.asp?ID=11223.  Contact Read Porter directly at (202)939-3810 or porter@eli.org.

Story in the New York Times about the effects of global warming on plant ranges.  Invasive species are mentioned, and there is an interesting map showing a comparison of horticultural zones between 1990 and 2006.


Legislative News

Wisconsin Implements New Invasive Species Rules

In response to growing concern about invasive species in Wisconsin, the state legislature directed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to create a new rule to limit trade and transport of invasive plant and animal species. The new rule, known as Chapter NR 40, classifies certain species as either Prohibited or Restricted. Species deemed Prohibited may not be transported, possessed, transferred, or introduced. Restricted species are also subject to a ban on transport, transfer and introduction, but possession is allowed. Exceptions to these rules may be allowed when a permit is provided by the DNR. These rules are aimed at preventing new invasive species from getting into Wisconsin and enabling quick action to control or eradicate those that are present in Wisconsin but not yet established.

The rules also require preventive measures for certain activities to prevent the spread of invasive species. Guidelines were developed for aquatic species, including requirements to clean all boats and trailers and restrictions on the use of certain species for bait. Four sets of Best Management Practices (BMPs) were developed to prevent the spread of invasive plants through specific activities: Forestry; Recreational Use of Forests; Urban Forestry; and Transportation and Utility Rights-of-Way.

More information on the rules are available on the Wisconsin DNR’s website. Visit http://dnr.wi.gov/invasives/classification/ for more information on definitions, listed species, best management practices, or information on how to report a sighting of any of the listed species

The Nature Conservancy Supports Proposed New USDA Rules for Foreign Pests and Pathogens

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Non-native invasive plants, pests and pathogens are costing our state millions of dollars each year in prevention, control and lost revenues.  The USDA has proposed new rules to govern imported plants that would help cut off one of the major pathways for these non-native invaders. The Nature Conservancy supports the new rules, as they would help prevent new invasive foreign plants, pests and pathogens from entering our nation and damaging our forests, prairies and wetlands.

“More than 500 million plants are imported each year, overwhelming inspection procedures,” said Mary McConnell of The Nature Conservancy. “New pest introductions are detected at a rate of one every 12 days. These new pests are in addition to the more than 400 non-native insects and plant diseases already permanently established here.” According to McConnell, improving the inspection process is a priority for the Conservancy because invasive foreign plants and pests threaten the nation’s natural habitats, preserves, farms and they threaten forests by making them less resilient to climate change.

The proposed USDA rules represent the first comprehensive revision to the nation’s plant import controls in more than 50 years. If passed, these rules would create a new category, under which the USDA would effectively ban import of some problem plants until they are proven safe. The public comment period closes very soon, October 21. 

“It is essential that those entities and individuals concerned about invasive species act now,” said McConnell. “It is important that we provide USDA strong backing for moving forward with this important revision.” The Conservancy feels the proposed regulations are an important step in the right direction to help prevent new invasive species from attacking our forests.

For more information about the threat of invasive species in Indiana, visit www.nature.org/indiana.

A First for Indiana - Governor Daniels Creates Invasive Species Council in Indiana

Read the press release from The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Chapter

For more information, contact Ellen Jacquart at ejacquart@TNC.ORG

Invasive Plants to Watch For!

Indiana's "Most Unwanted" Invasive Plant Pest Web site - The Indiana Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) program, which is a collaborative effort between Purdue, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service division of Plant Protection and Quarantine, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the Indiana chapter of The Nature Conservancy, recently launched a new Web site highlighting Indiana's "most unwanted" invasive plant pests, http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/CAPS.

People can search the site by the pest's name, the commodity it attacks or by its habitat. The Web site reports the pest's known distribution and whether it is currently present in Indiana . Visitors also can learn which invasive plant pests are found in specific Indiana counties.

The Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN) would like your help to evaluate research priorties and foster interactions between researchers and land managers working on invasive plants. If you work on invasive plant issues in the Midwest, please click the link below to complete the MIPN survey on research needs for invasive plants:


Results of this survey will be used to help direct our activities , focus research, and strengthen the community of people working together to reduce the impact of invasive plants. Thank you for help, John Cardina, Ohio State University & Chair of the MIPN Research Committee and Kate Howe, Coordinator for the Midwest Invasive Plant Network

Action Alert:

Opportunity to Support the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669)

On January 26th, Representative Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) introduced the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669), a bill designed to better control the introduction and establishment of nonnative species in the United States.

Addressing invasive species is among ESA’s central policy priorities—interested members are encouraged to contact their Representative to request co-sponsorship H.R. 669.

A few highlights:

The bill would establish a new risk assessment process in which the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) would evaluate the risk posed by nonnative species before allowing them into the country.

FWS would, with public input, develop a “green list” of species allowed to be imported. Parties who imported species not on this list would be subject to penalties under the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981, although special permits would be issued on a case-by-case basis for species being used for scientific or educational purposes. Import fees and penalties would go towards covering the c! osts of the risk assessment process.

Under current regulations, nonnative species may be imported so long as they are not considered “injurious” under the Lacey Act—that is, unless they have already caused demonstrable harm. H.R. 669 therefore represents a key shift from reactive to proactive policy, allowing FWS to stop nonnative species invasions in many cases before they begin.

H.R. 669 was drafted in extensive consultation with the scientific community, including members of ESA.

To view the complete bill, please visit http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.669.IH:

When contacting congressional offices, members may wish to mention the following:

Scientists and economists estimate that nonnative species invasions cost the United States more than $123 every year. As globalization increases, this figure is expected to rise.

Nonnative species have been introduced to ecosystems across all 50 states and U.S. territories, and have in many cases harmed not only local habitats and economies, but also native species and human health. Invasive species may proliferate quickly, spreading disease, damaging property, or leeching resources.

Detecting nonnative species invasions early on greatly increases the likelihood of eradication.

Contact information for Representatives is available at: