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GardenSMART :: 5 Things to Know About Invasives

5 Things to Know About Invasives

By Davey Tree Expert Company
Photographs courtesy of Davey Tree Expert Company

An invasive species is one that is non-native and likely to do harm, often displacing and destroying plants or animals. They are the largest threat to native wildlife, ecosystems and, according to Jim Doyle, a certified arborist at Hartney Greymont, a Davey company, "A considerable threat to urban forests."

Due to the lack of natural competitors and predators, non-native insect species often increase in numbers and spread swiftly. Doyle says the best approaches for dealing with invasive species are early detection and rapid response.

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"Detecting invaders quickly, and responding rapidly to eliminate them, is essential to limiting the impact and cost when prevention fails," says Doyle. "Plant diverse, native plants and remove invasive plants in your garden."

It is important to learn which invasive species are in your area, and what actions are being done to manage them. Here are some invasive insects to look out for in your area:

Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly is the newest invasive on the scene. While it may not yet have been spotted in your state, this invasive plant hopper travels quickly. First discovered in 2014 in Pennsylvania, the bug has also been detected in Delaware, New York and Virginia. Early detection is vital for the protection of several agricultural industries and your trees. Ongoing infestations can be successfully treated with the right foliar insecticide.

Emerald Ash Borer

By now, you've probably heard of the emerald ash borer, often called EAB. It's an incredibly destructive invasive insect that was first detected in Michigan in 2002. EAB has been detected in 35 states, many of which are part of a national quarantine zone, limiting the movement of all hardwood, firewood, and green wood products, nursery stock, and any plant materials from any ash species in an effort to stop the spread of this beetle.

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Gypsy Moths

The gypsy moth is an invasive forest pest from Europe that is one of the most damaging tree defoliators currently in the U.S. They were first introduced in the 1860s by an amateur entomologist in Medford, Massachusetts and are now well established throughout the United States. They hatch from late April to early May, and the young caterpillars begin feeding on new tree leaves at the same time.

Many cities have implemented control measures to help combat many invasive infestations. As a homeowner, however, you are responsible for protecting your own trees from any invasive species.

5 Things to Know About Invasives:

  • Threaten native wildlife and ecosystems by destroying or replacing native food sources.
  • Push many native plants and animals to the brink of extinction.
  • Put 70 million acres of public and private lands at serious risk from 26 different insects and diseases, most of which are non-native invasives—according to the U.S. Forest Service.
  • Cause ecological havoc: Some invasives are capable of changing ecosystems, such as changing soil chemistry or intensifying wildfires.
  • Cost the U.S. billions of dollars in the effort to control or eradicate these invaders and restore habitats such as unproductive farmland, clogged waterways, and decimated commercial fisheries. Estimates are that the United States spends $138 billion per year in damage and associated control costs in the fight against invasives—according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Unfortunately, Doyle says that invasives are here to stay. "Our challenge is to recognize which invasives need to be managed and how to effectively manage them."

Consult your local tree expert for an invasives check on your property at

With nearly 9,500 employees throughout North America, The Davey Tree Expert Company provides solutions for residential, utility, commercial and government clients. Rooted in research, the company's vision is to achieve balance among people, progress and the environment. Tree experts since 1880, Davey provides diversified tree services, grounds maintenance, and environmental services. Celebrating 40 years of employee ownership, Davey is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the U.S. and is headquartered in Kent, Ohio. Want to join us? Discover your Davey career, and apply today.



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