Adirondack Invasives: Go Native! (Substitute Native Plants for Invasive Plants)

Looking around my own property I find that I have inherited trees, shrubs and plants that are considered moderately invasive in the Adirondack Park. Before I go ripping up my whole yard, I am looking into substituting the plants with native species to New York and the Adirondacks. It will take some weeding, but will be worth it in the long run!

Before you transplant know what is considered invasive!

Adirondack Nature Conservancy (ANC) surveyed roadsides for the following invasive plants:
  • Garlic mustard ( Alliaria petiolata )
  • Russian and autumn olive ( Elaeagnus angustifolia and E. umbellata )
  • Fly and tatarian honeysuckle ( Lonicera morrowii and L. tatarica )
  • Purple loosestrife ( Lythrum salicaria )
  • White sweet-clover ( Melilotus alba)
  • Common reed grass ( Phragmites australis )
  • Japanese knotweed ( Polygonum cuspidatum )
  • Common and smooth buckthorn ( Rhamnus cathartica and R. frangula )
  • Black locust ( Robinia pseudoacacia )
  • Black swallowwort ( Vincetoxicum nigrum )
These may not make the DEC/ANC list, but are still highly invasive:
Yellow Iris, Burning Bush, Japanese Barberry, and Norway Maple 
For around your property look for these substitutions:
Fall Foliage:
Avoid Burning Bush
Substitute with  Red Chokeberry, Highbush Blueberry or Red Twig Dogwood
Avoid Norway Maple
Substitute with  Red, Silver, or Sugar Maple Or if you really want the purple foliage, try the purple cultivar available of Chokecherry called ‘Schubert’s Red’.
Ground Cover 
Avoid periwinkle (Vinca), Goutweed (Snow on the Mountain or Bishop’s Weed),  Wintercreeper or English Ivy,
Substitute with Wild Ginger, Golden Alexanders, Labrador Violet, Barren Strawberry or Moss Phlox.
Aquatic Invasive Species in the Adirondack Park
Check your boats for Water Chestnut, Curlyleaf Pondweed, Eurasian Water milfoil, Fanwort
In the summer of 2012, the spiny water flea was discovered in Lake George. Alewife, white perch, zooplankton, and zebra mussels are some of the invasive animal species threatening Lake Champlain.

Priority plant species of concern include: purple loosestrife, water chestnut, Eurasian watermilfoil, curlyleaf pondweed, fanwort, Japanese knotweed, and phragmites, (total 7 species). The priority list of fish and invertebrates includes zebra mussels, sea lamprey, and alewife (total 3 species).

Native to Adirondack Upland
Blacknose dace 
White sucker 
Longnose sucker 
Northern redbelly dace 
Redbreast sunfish 
Finescale dace
Creek chubsucker 
Longnose dace 
Slimy sculpin Lake chub 
Common shiner 
Round whitefish

Native Species Widely Introduced with the Adirondack Upland1
Brook trout 
Brown bullhead 

Nonnative to Adirondack Upland 
Golden shiner 
Chain pickerel 
Largemouth bass 
Brown trout 
Splake Lake whitefish 
Rainbow smelt 
Northern pike 
Rock bass 
Bluntnose minnow
Pearl dace
Cisco Lake trout 
Creek chub
Smallmouth bass 
Yellow perch 
Fathead minnow
Rainbow trout 
Atlantic salmon 
Central mudminnow 
Redhorse suckers
Black crappie 
Banded killifish
Spottail shiner

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.


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