SAFE HARBOR INVASIVE PLANT MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Dirty Dozen: 13 plants we need to control on Cape Cod
Native plants co-evolved with native insects and animals to transfer plant biomass inti protein biomass, which fuels ecosystems. Invasive (non-native) plants did not co-evolve with insects and animals and do not because their plant biomass rarely gets transferred to protein biomass, the presence of invasive vegetation neuters invaded ecosystems.
Invasive plants are fast growing. They easily out compete native vegetation for nutrients, sunlight and moisture. This crowds out native species and reduces native plant biodiversity. Reductions in native plant population stress native animals by reducingfood and shelter options. This overallpattern creates economic impacts.
Large and small scale removal of invasive plants must be matched with re-planting of native species or using encouragement strategies for native plants. Otherwise the invasives will simply reappear. Large scale invasive plant removal should be done with a three year management plan, to give slower growing native vegetation the chance to become dominant. We have also developed several innovative strategies for encouraging resurgence of native vegetation.
A warning to homeowners removing invasive vegetation themselves: please DO NOTput the removed vegetation in compost piles! This will spread the seeds to dozens of other homes. Bag the removed plants and dispose of them with household trash. On Cape Cod, our trash is incinerated to produce electricity.