Prevention is the most cost-effective strategy for invasive species management. If an invasive species is never introduced to a site, there will never be a need for costly and time-consuming treatment activities. Here are some steps you can take to prevent the spread of invasive species.
1. Clean shoes, waders, recreational vehicles, work equipment, boats, and other equipment before and after visiting a natural area. Pay special attention to plant material and mud, which can contain invasive plant seeds.
2. Stay on trails when recreating. Accidentally depositing seeds off-trail may start a population of invasive plants that is difficult to find and treat.
3. Don't transport firewood or other plant materials. They can carry invasive plant seeds or invasive insects.
4. Plant native species. Some non-native plants may be pretty, but they don't offer the same benefits for wildlife, and they could become invasive.
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Invasive species management on a property is a long-term commitment. Eradication may be possible for small, isolated infestations. Even if eradication is not feasible, control still has its benefits. When performing invasive species control on larger infestations, the goal is to thin out the invasives and allow native plants to establish. Native species establishment can help the property maintain ecosystem function and support wildlife.
Prioritize invasive species control activities to increase efficiency. For some species, only certain individuals produce seed. In these cases, target seed-producing plants first to prevent further spread. In cases where an infestation is spreading, it may be best to target isolated plants on the edge first, because they will take the least amount of time and money to control. Eradicating outlying plants can stop the spread of the infestation. Once outliers are controlled, move toward more densely-infested areas. Monitor entry points like trails and roadsides, because they the most likely points for new invasive species to establish.
It is important to research the specific invasive species on a property and use management techniques recommended for those species.