Improve the health of your yard or pasture by removing invasive plants

by Apr 30, 2019Headlines, Local News, Newsmaker

MISSOURI — With Spring in full swing, farmers and gardeners are having to contend with a common enemy: invasive plants.

There are multiple methods for removing these plants that range from the very simple to more complex plans.

KMZU’s Dan Watson talked with Timothy Baker, a Field Specialist in Agronomy with the University of Missouri Extension, about some of the more common invasive species of plants, methods for removing them and ways to possibly prevent them from returning this season.

Click below to hear their conversation, which aired Thursday on KMZU.


The list of common invasive species includes a variety of plants from berries, to vines, to trees, flowers and weeds.

“We’ve got invasive plants like Autumn Olive, Bush Honeysuckle, the Callery Pear. . . Canada Thistle. . . Garlic Mustard. . . Japanese Honeysuckle. . .,” Baker said.

Other problem species include Johnson Grass, Kudzu, Musk Thistle, Spotted Knapweed and Multiflora Rose.

One of the most prominent way of controlling weeds, whether in a field or garden, is to use herbicides.

“Certainly herbicides will work in some situations,” Baker explained, “you have to be careful though. . .”

While some pesticides work well in pastures and fields, they may be too powerful for gardens.

“. . .The herbicide you would use to control that, in a pasture setting, would very possibly damage many of the plants in your garden,” Baker stated.

Less chemical-heavy options are available to tend gardens, but Baker explains that they may not work as well for large-scale operations.

“Typically they might work on a small-scale setting where you can go in there and add your own efforts like hoeing and things like that,” Baker said, “but on a large-scale, they may not be as quite as effective as the herbicide.”

Depending on the size of the plot and philosophy of the planter, Baker recommends choosing a control option that works for the individual.

Once the weeds are brought under control, the next step is preventing them from regrowing.

During the Spring, some gardeners my choose to lay a stone or brick border wall around their beds to keep weeds out. While this may work for outside weeds, Baker recommends another method for controlling weeds within the garden itself.

“A lot of times people will put down weed barriers in certain situations,” Baker stated, “. . .you have this fabric that maybe the water can get through, but the weeds don’t.”

Baker recommends that farmers and gardeners should visit the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website for more information about invasive plant and weed control.