Approximately one-fourth of the plant species known to occur in Ohio originate from other parts of the continent or the world. These species are commonly called non-native, exotic or alien because they were not known from Ohio prior to the time of substantial European settlement, around 1750. Some of Ohio's non-native plants arrived here by accident, while others were introduced for agriculture, erosion control, horticulture, forage crops, medicinal use, and food for wildlife. Some of these invasive non-native plants are commercially available, primarily as cultivars.
Since these species are not native to Ohio, they lack the natural predators and diseases which control them in their native habitats. They are usually characterized by fast growth rates, high fruit production, rapid vegetative spread, and efficient seed dispersal and germination. They often tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions and are quick to colonize recently disturbed sites. Invasive plants are able to displace native plants through genetic assimilation or competitive displacement. By forming monocultures, invasive plants pose a serious threat to the biodiversity of our fish, wildlife and native plant resources. Invasive plants have the potential to degrade fish and wildlife habitats and to eliminate important native shelter and food sources.
Successful control of invasive plant species is a time, labor, and resource-intensive process. Prevention or control during the early stages of invasion is the best strategy. Invasive plants can be controlled using biological, mechanical, or chemical methods.
In Ohio, efforts have begun to increase the awareness of invasive plants. There are several things you can do to help with this important issue, such as:
1. Spread the word about the threats of invasive plants and the benefits provided by native plant communities.
2. Learn to identify the invasive plants in your area and report infestations to the nearest land managing agency or extension service.
3. Don't be a transporter! Clean off shoes, pants and machinery (including boats), when leaving an area with invasive plants.
4. Plant native plants in your yard and eradicate invasive plants from your property.
For information on the Ohio Invasive Plants Council, click here.