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How to Eradicate Invasive Plants

How to Eradicate Invasive Plants

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by Teri Dunn Chace

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“Every garden shed should have a copy of this book. The wisdom that it wields will hold the invaders at the gate.” —Roger B. Swain, The Victory Garden

How to Eradicate Invasive Plants offers a clear, practical solution to the increasingly common problem of invasive plants. Clearly written and


“Every garden shed should have a copy of this book. The wisdom that it wields will hold the invaders at the gate.” —Roger B. Swain, The Victory Garden

How to Eradicate Invasive Plants offers a clear, practical solution to the increasingly common problem of invasive plants. Clearly written and easy-to-use, Teri Dunn Chance shows you how to recognize more than 200 common invasive plants and offers organic and responsible chemical eradication options for each species. With this reference on their shelves, gardeners, landscapers, and managers of public and private land across the country can confidently tackle the invasive plants to make room for a sustainable plant community!

Editorial Reviews

Patio & Outdoor Living Better Homes & Gardens Deck
“This book will help you identify invasive plants of all kinds and get to know their swift and often subtle ways of seizing an opportunity to spread through a garden.”

From the Publisher

“This book will help you identify invasive plants of all kinds and get to know their swift and often subtle ways of seizing an opportunity to spread through a garden.” —Better Homes and Gardens
“The book should win a readability award. It is laid out with style and panache. There is great use of color, fonts, shadings, pagination, background and spacing. . . . this is a fine encyclopedia of invasive plants, and everyone should know the extent of the problem.” —Library Thing

Library Journal
Opportunistic and prolific, weeds can easily take over a garden or a lawn, leaving a frustrated gardener in their wake. Chace's (The Anxious Gardener's Book of Answers) new work on eradicating the aggressors is a good resource for the battle-weary gardener. Her introduction explains the difference between a plant characterized as invasive and those simply termed weeds. Weeds may affect the aesthetics of a designed garden, but invasives choke out native plants and threaten biodiversity. The plants included in the book, over 200, are "a problem somewhere," but the degree of damage they cause can vary. Chapters one and two give a broad introduction to invasive plants and controlling them in general. The bulk of the book is then divided into seven sections according to plant type; trees, vines, etc. Each section is organized alphabetically by the plant's Latin name and includes color photos. The author offers non- and less-toxic plant controls and encourages gardeners to save chemical control as a last result. She also includes a list of problem regions for certain plants since not all plants are challenges in every state. A list of recommended reading is also included. VERDICT Overall, this is an easy-to-use and accessible resource that many gardeners will find useful.—Lisa Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.

Product Details

Timber Press, Incorporated
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6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction: Weedy Words
Earthlings, gardeners, fellow Americans: we have a problem. We have a weeds problem. They are everywhere. They have encroached on our roadsides, wetlands, salt marshes, lakesides and creeksides, and damp ditches. They have invaded our farmlands and orchards, fields and meadows. They want our golf courses and public parks, our back yards and front yards. They are already in our vacant lots, sidewalk cracks, property perimeters, and neglected and unwatched corners.
The lines we see or create between public land and private yard do not halt the spread of weeds. Some can clamber over a fence or wall or sneak into, or out of, a garden. Wind, water, birds, and more easily transport the seeds of some plants and the viable bits (that is, seedlings or root fragments) of others.
The common dandelion is a classic example. It pops up uninvited in front and back lawns, in city parks, in curb strips, in playing fields. Maybe when you were a kid, someone paid you a nickel per plush yellow flower to yank them out before they turned into white puffballs. Otherwise...poof! A slight breeze or the kick of a shoe, and those tiny seeds parachute all over town, setting the stage for an even bigger invasion next spring and summer.
Today, all manner of unsavory plants are increasingly in the news and on our radar, so to speak. Perhaps you’ve noticed that a crew of volunteers has been dispatched to a local wetland to undertake the hard work of digging up purple loosestrife rootstocks, which, once they’ve been in place for a while, are bulky as a buried tire and insidious as a tumor. Or, maybe you have observed in passing that the stands of Japanese knotweed on the outskirts of town are multiplying every year, sucking up water and nutrients and shoving aside all other plants. Kudzu has already engulfed and devoured much of the South. Cheatgrass, especially when it dries out in the hot summer sun, is blamed for giving devastating wildfires in the West entirely too much fuel. Freshwater boaters are warned with strategically placed, detailed signs to rinse off their hulls before and after putting into a lake or stream, lest they spread invasive, alien plants (and creatures). And so on and on.
Worldwide Weeds
Culturally, we live in a global village, thanks primarily to a dazzling array of technological advances in transportation and communication. Mixing it up, traveling and trading, importing and exporting, exploring and exchanging ideas and materials—all this is generally considered not only inevitable but also desirable. Awareness and diversity are good, indeed exciting and enhancing. We inhabit a web that binds us all together and seemingly shrinks the world.
Meanwhile, smaller, minority voices can also be heard, protesting that sometimes the local, the unique, the indigenous, is being threatened or lost. An American friend who traveled in Tanzania related that, in a remote bush village, she encountered a small boy wearing a tattered but recognizable John Lennon t-shirt: “Heaven knows where he got it or what its travels were,” she reflected in her blog. “It was so jarring and incongruous. Was I glad or sad to see that shirt?”
A similar sensation may assail the informed gardener or botanist who spots a foreign plant in familiar ground. And what about the plant collector who imports and plants, say, a nifty exotic flowering akebia vine from Sichuan Province, China? Or the avid, adventurous gardener who snaps up a seedling of foreign origin at a specialized nursery or flower show, just because it looks to be beautiful, just for the challenge, or even simply because he or she values rare or cutting-edge plants? Even if the import is untested in this country?
Yes, gardeners—for a variety of aesthetic and practical reasons—have occasionally been credited or blamed with introducing a “problem plant” to American soil. The examples are legion. Will the aforementioned akebia, so lovely and tame in situ, turn out to be a monster here? Will importers and boosters of the rare, foreign, and exotic be praised or blamed in a few years or decades?
Not all introductions have been or are deliberate. In Weeds: In Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants, British nature writer Richard Mabey cites a variety of other vehicles on which plants have hitched a ride: in ballast, in packing materials, in contaminated seed and feed, in fill soil, as well as in once-popular food crops and useful herbs that have gone rogue. Even on the smallest scale, most gardeners have, at one time or other, brought home a potted plant from the local nursery only to discover a stowaway tucked under the leaves, an unwelcome burdock or thistle.
Other plants have arrived with the best intentions, promoted as ideal for erosion control or low-maintenance landscaping. In Florida, the once-promising imported ornamental tree known as bishopwood has been rapidly wearing out its welcome by overtaking fragile native swampland communities. The agents? Native as well as introduced birds, which relish the seeds.
Occasionally an unsavory foreign relative of a native plant worms its way into and ultimately alters the gene pool, as is apparently the case with alders, to name but one example. All this brings to mind that pivotal moment in the sci-fi classic The Andromeda Strain when a scientist exclaims in panic, “There’ll be a thousand mutations! It will spread everywhere! We’ll never be rid of it!”

Meet the Author

Teri Dunn Chace is a writer and editor with more than thirty titles in publication, including Seeing Flowers (Timber Press, 2014),  How to Eradicate Invasive Plants (Timber Press, 2013) and The Anxious Gardener’s Book of Answers (Timber Press, 2012). She has also written and edited extensively for Horticulture, North American Gardener, Backyard Living, and Birds & Blooms. Raised in California and educated at Bard College in New York, Chace has gardened in a variety of climate zones and soil types, from inner city Portland, Oregon, to coastal Massachusetts. She now lives in a small upstate New York village with snowy winters and glorious summers.

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How to Eradicate Invasive Plants 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Mandy_Owen More than 1 year ago
Well, I picked up this book to see if it had the weed I hate the most in my yard, goutweed, and it sure did. I found the info interesting and helpful. The writing is not at all dull, in fact, it is like having an expert speak to you respectfully--great writing style. The introduction is excellent and thought-provoking. The author is right, the issues around invasive plants are not simple. We live in a global village now, these plants are here to stay, even if it's not their native habitat. This is a very useful and provocative book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Chace's prose is a lucid guide to successful gardening and a beautiful front and back yard. Do yourself a favor; get a copy of this book, follow the clear instructions, and be the envy of every other homeowner in your neighborhood.