Survey reveals most invasive plant species in Hamilton County 

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A worker cuts invasive Asian bush honeysuckle. (Photo provided by Redtail Land Conservancy)

Although there were no surprises in a Hamilton County Invasives Partnership survey, the information will be beneficial.

The Hamilton County Invasives Partnership, which includes representatives from municipalities, townships, city/county parks departments, urban foresters, conservationists and others across the county, recently completed a survey that identifies and ranks the most problematic invasive species in Hamilton County.  Through identification, HIP and its community partners will be better able to achieve their mission to mobilize land stewards to manage and eliminate invasive plant species in the county, according to Kim Gauen, chair of the HIP technical committee.

“The results confirmed our suspicions, and it is good to have data that supports them,” Gauen said. “We asked a forester, a biologist and an ecologist to review our results and they concurred with them. The survey results also correlate with reports from EDDMapS, an invasive species monitoring program. The forester, biologist and ecologist we contacted agreed that the top plants identified by this survey cause the most ecological, economic and health damage.”

The top 10 evasive plant species in the county are Asian bush honeysuckle, Callery pear (Bradford pear), wintercreeper, Canada thistle, garlic mustard, burning bush, multiflora rose, autumn olive, Japanese honeysuckle and Japanese knotweed.

“Unfortunately, you can easily spot Asian bush honeysuckle along most state and county roads, along the White River, at the farm field edges, in home landscapes, along the Monon Trail and in our beloved city parks. McGregor Park is an exception,” Gauen said. “Callery pear is most apparent in fields. The northeast corner of State Road 38 and Hague Road is a good example. Callery pear’s thorns — yes, they do have thorns — will make it difficult to remediate this area.”

Taylor Wilson, an urban conservation technician with the Hamilton County soil and water conservation district, said confirming which species are the most problematic is valuable.

“This has given our group a direction to focus our efforts and begin educating land owners on,” Wilson said. “With this direction, we can provide better educational materials, outreach, and technical assistance to land stewards in order to better manage invasives in the county.”

Gauen said people are becoming increasingly more concerned about the state of the environment.

“They want to do the right things,” Gauen said “Once people realize what is happening in our county, they will act. You cannot unsee the damage that invasives are causing once you become aware of them. There are many opportunities to help in the fight.”

For more, visit hamiltonswcd.org/hamilton-county-invasives-partnership-hip.html.


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