Removing invasive species is only the first step to establishing a healthy ecosystem-restoration of the area with native species is also needed.
Why should you restore native ecosystems? Removing invasive species and their biomass allows for other plants to begin to grow, however, the plants that return may be desirable native plants or they may be new invasive species taking advantage of a disturbed area. Therefore, the best practice is to incorporate restoration of native species into all invasive species control.
Restoration might include planting a cover crop of grass that will come up during the next growing season. The grass will inhibit the establishment of new invasive species while giving native plants time to establish in the area. If you are working in an area that used to have native species, natives may come back naturally from the seed bank once the invasive plants are removed. Otherwise, you may need to distribute native seed at the site or provide native plantings.
Why should you consider planting native species when restoring the area? Native plants have many benefits including:
- Resilience to future introductions of invasive species once native plants are established.
- Support Michigan’s native wildlife and insects including butterflies and other pollinators.
- Provide ecosystem services such as better infiltration of storm water runoff.
If you would like some suggestions, consider these native plants:
- Landscape Alternatives for Invasive Plants of the Midwest
- Go Beyond Beauty suggested native plant list
Have you planted native plants in your yard? Consider becoming certified as wildlife habitat through Wildlife Habitats of Oakland.