Invasive vines such as English ivy can kill healthy, mature trees. Simple actions like controlling invasive vines can help save trees which are vital for capturing greenhouse gases and reducing the impact of climate change.
Ecological threat: English ivy (Hedera helix)is an ornamental vine commonly planted in landscapes as a groundcover that invades all types of natural areas including forests. Be on the lookout for English ivy as it is evergreen and climbs trees or forms a carpet on the forest floor which is most obvious when other plants are going dormant in the fall. English ivy climbs tree trunks smothering the tree canopy and preventing photosynthesis so that the tree eventually dies. The added weight of English ivy vine will often cause limbs or the whole tree to collapse. Deer assist in the spread as they rarely eat this invasive vine and prefer native plants that wildlife need for food and habitat.
An ornamental shrub commonly planted in landscapes, Linden viburnum invades the understory of forests and thrives in the shade. Be on the lookout for Linden viburnum’s bright red cluster of fruit in the fall persisting into December. This invasive shrub has creamy white flowers in clusters in the spring.
Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), or simply referred to as stiltgrass, is an annual grass that grows from 12 to 36 inches tall. Its narrow stem has segments separated by joints; each segment produces a leaf, and each has a silvery-pearlescent midvein and leaf margin. It was inadvertently introduced to the United States in 1919 in shipping packaging and has since become widespread.
Chinese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) is a popular ornamental plant that has spread from yards and commercial landscapes and is being found in increased numbers invading meadows, roadsides, utility rights-of-ways and other open areas in New Jersey. One or two clumps soon multiply and when not controlled, can push out native plants that are critical for wildlife.