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Michigan's Invasive Species Community

"Cover Crops" for invasive spread prevention

Nor Serocki

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I've recently had a number of citizens asking what to do to the areas around invasive species patches to try and slow the spread. Particularly in with knotweed, landowners are worried about it spreading during the "wait" period until they treat in the fall. Has there any success with planting  trees/shrubs/ground covers to prevent knotweed from sending up runners or new stems? What about other species? Thanks for your insight! 

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Generally speaking, because of herbicide use, we don't recommend landowners plant anything until treatments are finished--and that sometimes takes a while (years).  If erosion is a big concern, grass plugs might be a good way forward, as all the herbicides we use (Milestone & Clearcast) are broadleaf-selective, and therefore won't kill grasses.

More to the point of your question, I can't think of any plants that can out-compete knotweed and stop it from spreading; it's far too good at what it does.  Plus, just about any digging will just "enrage" the knotweed further.

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