DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Callery pear tree was banned for sale earlier in 2023 in the state, but it is not the only invasive plant in Ohio.
Known for spreading quickly and in large numbers, invasive plants can take over a forest in just a few years, and unlike their natural habitat, there are very few predators for these plants in the state.
Amanda Bennett, Ohio State University Miami Extension agriculture and natural resource educator, said, “They have an herbivore that eats it. But we don’t have that herbivore here. And the specialized herbivore that we do have is a white tailed deer, and they prefer our native plants.”
This decreases the number of native plants, and when deer eat, they spread the seeds of invasive plants, a problem for the ecosystem.
Katy Lucas, Centerville-Washington Park District Environmental Education Supervisor, said, “Our ecosystems always start toward the bottom, right? They start with the plants. And so the higher diversity of plants that you have, the higher diversity of animals.”
For the park district, it is a constant fight to remove them.
Lucas said, “For garlic mustard and honeysuckle and multiflora rose At this point, they’re established enough that there’s enough seed in the space that they’re just going to keep receding, and so we just have to keep fighting it.”
The honeysuckle is known to be effective at providing shade, stunting growth of other plants.
Bennett said, “It is covering like forest floors and shading out a lot of the regrowth of some of our trees, our native trees and shrubs.”
Once established, it can be a thorn in your side to remove.
Bennett said, “Bush hogging it, cutting it down, really going at it for several years and then following it with an herbicide application because it won’t die just by cutting it down. It sprouts from the roots.”
According to the USDA National Institution of Food and Agriculture, the United States economy loses $137 billion from invasive species.