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How to Prevent Invasive Plants in the Garden

Have you ever had a plant take over your garden? Maybe it’s a weed that seems to grow no matter how often you pull it. Or, maybe you have a bush or tree that has spread its roots into the adjacent flower bed.

These are both examples of invasive plants. Invasive plants are a problem for many reasons. They can crowd out native plants, damage building foundations, and even harm humans and animals if they are poisonous. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent them from taking over your garden.

Invasive Plant Identification

The first step in preventing invasives is to learn to identify them. This can be tricky because some invasives only become problematic after they have been growing for several years. However, there are some general characteristics to look for.

Invasive plants are often fast-growing, have shallow roots, and produce large numbers of seeds or fruits. They may also have stems that branch frequently. Some common examples of invasive plants include Japanese knotweed, English ivy, and poison ivy.

Prevention Methods

Once you know what to look for, you can take steps to prevent invasives from taking over your garden.

Perhaps the simplest way to do this is to buy only native plants from nurseries and garden centers. You can also be careful about what seeds you sow in your garden. If you collect seeds from the wild, make sure you know exactly where they came from and what kind of plant they will produce.

It’s also important to clean your gardening tools after each use so you don’t accidentally spread seeds from one area of your property to another.

Finally, don’t overlook the importance of regular maintenance. Pulling up small invasives before they have a chance to take root and spread is an effective way to keep them under control.


Invasives can be a serious problem in the garden, but fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent them from taking over. By knowing what to look for and being proactive about pulling up small invaders, you can keep your garden looking neat and tidy all season long.