What Can You do to Help?
Don’t Plant Invasive Weeds
Be selective when you choose plants for home landscaping. Some invasive plants, such as purple loosestrife varieties, are still illegally sold in nurseries and garden shops, so beware! If you plant these in your yard, they may escape into nearby areas and become a problem by displacing native species. Not all non-native plants are invasive. There are many beautiful horticultural plants available for you to choose from, without contributing to the invasive weed problem. Also consider planting native species in your home garden. Natives offer a good choice for home landscaping because they are well adapted to local conditions and often thrive with less care than required by many non-native plants. Native plant gardening also enhances the value of your yard for local wildlife including birds and butterflies.
Remove Invasive Weeds
Be on the lookout for invasive weeds and remove or report them whenever possible. You may have invasive plants already growing in your backyard. Birds and other animals may eat the seeds of these plants and then travel to nearby uninfested lands, resulting in the spread of invasive weeds. You can help stop these invasions by removing the source plants. Talk to your neighbors and local greenhouses about the problem and share your concerns. Report sightings on public lands to the land manager. And if you do remove these plants from your own land, be sure not to spread the seeds when disposing of them.
Help Prevent the Accidental Spread of Invasive Weeds
When you venture into natural areas, roadsides, or any place with invasive weeds, be aware that you could be introducing or carrying invasive weeds inadvertently. Check your shoes, socks, clothing, etc., which might carry seeds. Another important thing you can do is to try to limit soil disturbances on your property. Invasive weeds thrive on disturbance and can quickly colonize areas that don’t have a good vegetative cover. If invasive weeds are moving in, try to control them before they get well established and the area is infested.
Educate Yourself and Spread the Word
Become better informed about how to identify invasive weeds, how to avoid spreading them, and how to control them. The battle to control invasive weeds cannot be won without public awareness and support. Share what you have learned so that others can join in the WAR ON WEEDS!
Here are some groups and agencies that can provide further information or assistance on noxious weeds:
- Hardin County Extension Service 641-648-4850
- Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship 515-281-5321
- Hardin County Natural Resource Conservation Service Office 641-648-2533
- Iowa Department of Transportation IRVM 515-233-7729
- Iowa State University (Agronomy) 515-294-1923
- The Nature Conservancy (Iowa) 515-244-5044