Nonnative Nuisance

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 23, 2010

pests and threats to human health, but it has been used to defend natural communities as well. Eradication requires quick action and aggressive tactics. Examples include incinerating trees harboring Asian long-horned beetles or trapping feral hogs.

Once an invasive species becomes established, control methods may include chemical, cultural, mechanical or even biological control measures. Chemical control includes the careful application of pesticides or herbicides. Cultural control means sound land stewardship such as planting native cover types, controlling grazing pressures on rangeland or minimizing disturbances that allow an invasive to get established. Mechanical control may involve the use of machinery, flooding or prescription fire. Lastly, biological control refers to the introduction of another species to help control the invasive one. Often, these species are natural enemies of the pest and may feed upon, parasitize or interrupt the life cycle of the target species. Using a combination of these methods is called integrated pest management and can boost effectiveness.

The kudzu population I had been sent to kill didn’t cover that much acreage, but (like all kudzu populations) it had visions of grandeur. I snapped images on my digital camera to document the pretreatment condition of the site and donned my nitrile gloves. Two hundred gallons of mixed herbicide continued to slosh within the baffles of my spray tank from the agitation of miles of travel, causing my truck to wobble as I shut it down. I surveyed my mission’s objective.

I snaked a high-pressure hose through the tangled mat of vines and broken treetops. Then I touched off the ignition on my pumper, and it roared to life. I made the typical adjustments to pressure up the system, pressed my goggles down against my face and pulled my drift hat down as far as I could. Picking up the nozzle, I lined up the first vine-canopied tree and squeezed the hand-trigger. The nozzle bucked and the solution sizzled skyward to meet tendril and leaf

Learn more about invasive species:

Purple Loosestrife

Sericea lespedeza


Gypsy moth

  • MDC Online:
  • The Invasive Species Initiative, The Nature Conservancy:
  • National Invasive Species Council:
  • The Center for Plant Conservation:
  • PCA Alien Plant Working Group:
  • USDA Forest Service, USDA APHIS, and other contributors:
  • Missouri Botanical Garden:
  • Protect Your Waters:

Reed canary grass & Purple loosestrife threaten wetland resources and diminish their capacity to sustain waterfowl populations.

Feral hogs threaten our deer and turkey populations, as well as the livestock that many of us rely on.

Sericea lespedeza invade prairies and rangelands, effectively reducing populations of bobwhite quail and greater prairie chickens.

West Nile virus threatens several species of Missouri birds, not to mention posing health problems for horses and people.

Kudzu has been identified as a host for Australasian soybean rust, a threat to the soybean farmer’s bottom line.

Northern snakehead fish, Asian carp & zebra mussels all have sights on our fisheries and native mussels.

Emerald ash borer & gypsy moth threaten our forest resources.

Chinese yam threatens the flora of our pristine streams with populations in the watersheds of the Current River.

Nonnative shrubs, such as bush honeysuckles, Chinese privet and winged burning bush dominate the understory of suburban wooded areas, effectively excluding native herbaceous species and disrupting oak regeneration.



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