This time of year, as most of the leaves have fallen, it becomes easier to identify some of our problem invasive plants in the landscape, such as buckthorn and honeysuckle.
These plants have become some of the biggest invasive plant pests, especially in many of our wooded and natural areas. Controlling invasive plant species is one aspect of The Conservation Foundation’s Conservation@Home program.
Fall can be a good time to identify buckthorn plants, since the leaves tend to stay green and attached later in the fall than many other similar shrubs. It can also be a good time for removal since it may be easier to maneuver in wooded areas while other plants are dormant.
In natural areas, the exotic buckthorn species shade or crowd out native vegetation, potentially leaving bare soil exposed and susceptible to excessive erosion, especially on slopes and near streams and rivers.
When the more desirable shrubs and plants are choked out, it can reduce food supplies for wildlife and also create dense barriers for animals, and humans, to try to travel through.
An upcoming opportunity to learn about invasive plants in the home landscape is to attend the “Identifying and Controlling Invasive Plants in the Home Landscape” presentation at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Yorkville Public Library, 902 Game Farm Road, Yorkville.
The program is sponsored by The Conservation Foundation, University of Illinois Extension, and the Yorkville Public Library. Program participants will learn about how to identify invasive plants, the impact of their presence and possible control techniques.
One of the main questions when removing invasive plants is, what are the preferred plants to use as replacements? Identification of different shrub and tree species will be discussed.
Another way to get some hands-on learning experience about such invasive plants and their control is to attend one of TCF’s volunteer restoration work days at the new Dayton Bluffs Preserve near Ottawa from 8 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of each month.
For more information or to attend, contact Jennifer Hammer at email@example.com or phone 630-428-4500, ext. 114.
On a final program note, join us to explore all of our programs at a TCF “Mission Fair and 45th Anniversary Open House” from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Danada House in Naperville. We’ll be set up science fair-style and our staff will be on hand to talk about the programs, answer questions, and guide you through fun, mission-focused activities.
While this event is an open house and you are welcome to come and go as you wish, we will have a brief program around 5:45 p.m.
Registration will open shortly, but mark your calendars and plan to join us.
For more information about the Conservation@Home program, invasive plants, or the open house, phone 630-553-0687, ext. 204, or see theconservationfoundation.org.
• John Church is the Kendall County program director at The Conservation Foundation.