Invasive Non-Native Plants, What you can do

The threat of invasive non-native plants-- and there are thousands of them, -- to fragile wild habitats is hardly new. In fact, it's a long-standing worldwide problem that unfortunately has intensified as modern society has become more mobile. However, just as people have contributed to the problem, they can help with its solution. This includes you! Be a thoughtful garden host-- ask a park naturalist for a list describing native plants and "friendly" nonnative plants; that would look good and grow well in your yard and garden, as well as those invasive non-natives you should avoid planting. Be careful which leafy guests you welcome into your garden. The list below gives a few reliable names to get you started.

Instead Of This...... Try This...
Flowering Trees

Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)

Paulowina (Paulowina tomentosa)

Fringetree (Chionanthhhus virginicus)

Dogwood (Cornus Florida)

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Winged euonymus (Eunymus alatus)

Bush honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.)

Native Viburnums- Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum

Native Amalachiers- Serviceberrys (Amelanchoir spp)

English ivy (Hedera helix)

*Pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbrens) or

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Porcelainberry (Ampelopis brevipedunculata)

Asiatic bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

Summer Grape (Vitus aestivalis)

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefloia)

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Miscanthus grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

**Liatrus (Liatrus spicata)

Gama Grass (Tripsacum dactyloides)

*There are no known native groundcovers. Planting of pachysandra or periwinkle should not occur on land directly adjacent to parkland because of the possibility of growth onto natural lands. These two plants are invasive but less so than ivy or euonymus.

** This plant is not native to this area but it is currently not known to be invasive.

These plants are not substitutes in form or function, but are recommended as native or non-indigenous, non- or less invasive counterparts to very invasive plants.

Be a considerate park guest and neighbor- resist the temptation to dump yard clippings or transplant anything into park property near you. Volunteer to help park rangers restore the diverse balance of plant life and to keep the national parks as an enduring treasure for future generations.

(Upper Left) Unhealthy forest areas often look cluttered or packed with a single type of vigorous plant. Such monculture--the predominance of one species--crowds out the diverse selection of other plants and animals that used to thrive there. Besides being dangerously unhealthy, monoculture natural areas are ugly.
invasive plants
(Lower Right) Healthy forests looks like this--the understory is relatively clear because no pests plants have encroached here yet. Note how sunshine can easily filter through the tree cover to the forest floor, where resident animals and low-lying plants can benefit from its heat and light.

You can also volunteer to help control invasive species in Rock Creek Park by contacting Geoff Clark at:

e-mail us
(202) 895-6077

or by clicking on the link below:

Activities: Botany, Pest/Disease Control, Natural Resources Planning, Science, Weed/Invasive Species Control
Dates: 09/01/2006----09/01/2007

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

5200 Glover Rd, NW
Washington, DC 20015


(202) 895-6000
Rock Creek Park administrative offices can be reached at 202-895-6000. For general information call 202-895-6070 Wednesday - Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and dial 0.

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