Invasive Species

Explore why invasive plants are a concern in the St. Louis region and learn what you can do to help address them. 

Invasive Plants 101

Why Should You Care?

What Can You Do To Help?

Learn to identify invasive plant species in our region (see Species List below) and how to distinguish them from any native species that are similar in appearance.

Avoid using invasive plants in your garden. Until you are able to get rid of invasive plants in your yard, be responsible and remember to remove and destroy seeds of invasive plants to prevent their dispersal into natural areas. Don’t share invasives with other gardeners.  Ask your local nursery not to sell invasive plants and to provide native alternatives.

Don’t plant invasive plants for wildlife. Native species provide much better food and cover for native wildlife.

Volunteer to help remove invasive species in local parks and natural areas.

Pass it on! Tell your friends and family about the threat from invasive species.

Invasive Species in the St. Louis Region

Invasive Plant Resources

  • The Shaw Nature Reserve’s manual to the control and identification of invasive species provides detailed instructions for control and suggestions for native alternatives for many of the worst invasive species in the Saint Louis region.
  • The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invasive plants page contains useful resources for the identification and control of more than 25 of the most common invasive plants in Missouri.
  • GrowNative! helps protect and restore biodiversity by increasing conservation awareness of native plants and their effective use in urban, suburban, and rural developed landscapes.
  • The Missouri Invasive Plant Species Task Force (MoIP) is a multi-agency, multi-industry networking and advocacy group to bolster statewide efforts to identify and control the invasive plant species that severely impact native biodiversity.
  • The Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN) is diverse group of participants and partners with the mission of reducing the impact of invasive plant species throughout the Midwest. Their website includes many useful resources for invasive species identification, control, and education, and research, such as this informative brochure on emerging invasive species to watch out for in the Midwest.
  • The website contains numerous resources for invasive species of the United States, including a vast library of invasive species images, and useful advice for invasive species control.
  • In December 2001, experts from across the globe met in St. Louis, Missouri to explore and develop workable voluntary approaches for reducing the introduction and spread of non-native invasive plants, which are serious threats to protecting biodiversity and ecosystems in the United States and other countries. The Workshop on Linking Ecology and Horticulture to Prevent Plant Invasions was convened by the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and produced these Voluntary Codes of Conduct for botanical institutions.

Herbicides and Invasive Species: The decision whether or not to use herbicides should be based on the scale and context of an infestation and the feasibility of alternative control methods. The judicious use of herbicides is often the most effective means of controlling invasive species, but careless or uneducated herbicide use can result in collateral damage to non-target vegetation and other ecological harm. Although the Missouri Botanical Garden does not explicitly endorse the use of any herbicide product, it is important that homeowners who chose to use herbicides understand correct application practices. It is important to understand the appropriate herbicide type, concentration, and application method for the control of each individual invasive species. Always follow label instruction and use personal protective equipment.

Herbicide advice for homeowners is a brochure created by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council with useful information about some of the most common herbicides used for invasive species control. The Clifftop Alliance in Illinois has also compiled some useful information on the use of herbicides for invasive plant control.