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Methods for controlling invasive species vary by species and site and fall into two categories:
The Town (and other organizations that manage large land areas) may occasionally use herbicides as a last resort when managing extensive colonies, but homeowners (and their landscapers) can generally control invasive species at the scale of their own properties without herbicides.
Manual & Mechanical Control Methods for Common Invasive Species in Weston (PDF) provides mechanical control recommendations for common invasive species in Weston. Other recommendations can be found on the Sour 16 species page.
Proper disposal of invasive plant parts is important to prevent inadvertently spreading the plants during disposal. Some species can re-root from small cut sections. Some may ripen even after a plant has been pulled. Simply composting in a backyard compost pile will not typically provide enough heat to kill seeds and roots. Proper disposal strategies depend on the species and how it reproduces. Some strategies are:
Note that plants identified as invasive by the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group may not be left at Weston’s Yard Waste Collection and Compost Facility per Town regulations.
Restoring any site where invasive species were removed is a key – but sometimes forgotten – step in a successful control effort. Many of our invasive plant species are adapted to thrive in disturbed soils. For this reason, all control efforts and general site work that result in exposed mineral soil should incorporate some degree of restoration.
For native plant recommendations that are specific to your site’s conditions and needs, try the Native Plant Trust’s Garden Plant Finder or visit the Weston Plant Pollinator Alliance.
All invasive species control efforts will involve at least several years of removal efforts. Even when 100% of plants are removed, seeds persist in the seed bank, vegetation re-sprouts from remaining rootstock and rhizomes, and any bare soil patches can invite new invasive species to establish. To be successful, you will need to plan to monitor the area for some years and promptly remove any invasive plants that re-appear. Manual & Mechanical Control Methods for Common Invasive Species in Weston (PDF) provides guidance on how many years each species needs to be monitored.
Fortunately, the work that comes after the first year gets progressively easier, as fewer and fewer invasive plants emerge and more native plants establish. Within a few years, you and the wildlife around you will enjoy the fruits of your invasive species control efforts.