Invasive, Non-Native Plants in Connecticut

Invasive, Non-Native Plants in Connecticut

The Problem

Non-native, invasive plants are a problem in Connecticut. They can disrupt entire ecosystems by changing the make-up of native plant communities. They are aggressive competitors –competing with native plants for sunlight, nutrients, water, and growing space. They have growth characteristics that allow them to spread readily – and once spread to new sites, they quickly establish and dominate. Invasive plants frequently crowd out native ones, causing problems for wildlife that need them for food and shelter. They may also totally overrun small populations of rare plants.

Two changes that have occurred in Connecticut's landscape over the last 25 years make the continued spread of invasive plants likely. First, an increasing number of invasive species have found their way to the state. Second, invasive plants have become established on an increasing number of sites. Now, when soil or vegetation is disturbed, it is likely there will be a nearby source of an invasive plant. The invasives even may spread from disturbed sites to undisturbed sites. Forests, grasslands, and wetlands are examples of natural habitats likely to be invaded.

Not every non-native plant in Connecticut is invasive. In fact, most are not. The problems are caused by non-native plants that find both 1) good growing conditions, and 2) few factors acting to control their growth. Japanese Barberry, Japanese Knotweed, Garlic Mustard, and Purple Loosestrife are a few examples of invasive plants that are widespread in the state.

Agency Policy

Nationally, NRCS works to prevent and control the spread of invasive plants on project lands. Additionally, NRCS works with partners from other agencies and organizations to share information, provide education, and achieve local goals relating to invasive plant management. In Connecticut, NRCS recommends avoiding the use of any plant currently listed as invasive or potentially invasive by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

Where to Get Information/Assistance

In Connecticut, NRCS offers technical and financial assistance relating both to invasive plant prevention or control and to site restoration with native or non-invasive plants. U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that may help landowners work with invasive plant problems include the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, the Grazing Lands Initiative, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and the Conservation Reserve Program. NRCS also offers educational materials on invasive plant issues. For more information, call (860) 871-4011, or see the invasives section of our website.

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