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Space Invaders

Jul 09, 2018

Space Invaders was an early computer game in which players would take out alien ships descending from the top of the screen.  At first they would start out slow and easy.  Over time, more would descend with a faster speed.  If you lost your pacing, they would overwhelm and then, game over.

Invasive species are like that. You may be unaware of what they are or not notice as they first appear.  But, it’s no game when these space invaders take over.  Invasive plants quickly spread through backyards and property, outcompeting desirable plants and displacing native animals.  If not caught and removed early, they become costly and hard to control.

Bush honeysuckle can turn a backyard into a jungle and spread through forests like hot lava, choking out native trees.  Callery pear trees are ornamentals that have cross-pollinated into several varieties with thorny, weak wood that splits and topples.  They are known and sold by names like Bradford, Cleveland Select, Aristocrat and others.

You can stop the invasion and join the fight by not buying them, removing them and replacing with natives.  Pull, cut and spray to remove bush honeysuckle and callery pear varieties.  Replace with serviceberry, dogwood, plum, redbud, and other native species.

Controlling the Bush Honeysuckle

  • Bush honeysuckles will invade a wide variety of natural communities with or without previous disturbances. 
  • Affected natural communities can include: lake and stream banks, marsh, fens, sedge meadow, wet and dry prairies, savannas, floodplain and upland forests and wood-lands.
  • Control measures may enlist one or more of the following techniques: prescribed burning, hand pulling of seedlings, cutting and herbicide treatments.

Discover more on controlling the bush honeysuckle.

Discover more on controlling callery pear trees.


Invasive Bush Honeysuckle
Remove Bush Honeysuckle before it takes over your property.

Exotic Invaders

Invasive species harm the natural environment.  Learn how to deal with them in this video.
Invasive species harm the natural environment. Learn how to deal with them in this video.

Bradford pear_9.jpg

Bradford Pear Tree
Callery pear varieties can quickly take over open spaces.

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american tree sparrow

Winter Sparrows

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WINTER SPARROWS:  They're all around us in winter, eat cheap, and frequently feed on the ground.  Sparrows are small birds with thick bills for cracking seeds.  Sparrows are mostly brown but some have showy accents like yellow eyebrows, red caps, and white mohawks.  Discover how sparrows can lively-up your backyard in the dead of winter, and hear their calls and chirps in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.

Eastern red cedar tree berries

Missouri's Spicy Evergreen

Dec 02, 2018

MISSOURI'S SPICY EVERGREEN: Its aromatic wood is used for chests and closets, its oils for soaps and gin, and its high-energy berries feed hungry birds. Meet the Eastern red cedar. A shapely, spicy evergreen that is Missouri's most common and a yuletide favorite for people and wildlife. Red cedar branches provide greenery during winter and protect deer and rabbits from the wind. Learn more fun facts about red cedar trees in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Eastern bluebird on a branch

Christmas Bird Counts

Nov 25, 2018

CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT:  Try a new outdoor adventure by joining an old holiday tradition.  Several Missouri counties have openings where you can be part of Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count, the longest-running, citizen-science effort in the U.S.  Each count takes place on a single day between December 14, and January 5, from before sunrise to after sunset.  New birders are often paired with experienced counters.  Many groups enjoy a warm meal together after the count.  Learn how you can help birds by counting them in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.


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