Many familiar plants in our gardens, fields, and along roadsides are not native to New Hampshire. While the majority cause no harm to natural habitat or managed farms and forests, some do and are considered invasive plants. Invasive plants can reduce biodiversity, imperil rare species, reduce wildlife habitat by eliminating native foods or changing cover or nest sites, degrade water quality, reduce forest and farm crop production, and cause human health problems.
Native plants are those that occur naturally and evolved in a region. Research has shown that native plants support more wildlife than exotic and invasive plants. For example, research by the entomologist Doug Tallamy has shown that native oak trees support over 500 species of caterpillars whereas ginkgos, a common landscape tree from Asia, host only 5 species of caterpillars. You can help wildlife by selecting native plants when making your landscaping decisions.
In cases where invasive plants have been removed from a site, there might be native species that will naturally grow and fill in the gaps. However, in some cases, removal of invasive plants can result in a disturbed site that is prime for further invasion. Planting native species can help to provide a native seed bank and ensure that invasive plants will not entirely repopulate the site. Select native plants appropriate for the site conditions and be aware of some of the difficulties of planting - like deer browse and the need for future management of invasives - before investing time and money in extensive plantings.
- Learn about Alternatives to Invasive Landscape Plants for your yard and garden
- The NH State Forest Nursery has a wide selection of native tree and shrub seedlings available for purchase
- Visit nhinvasives.org for more information on invasive plants in New Hampshire, methods for control, and disposal recommendations