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How to Deal with Invasive Plant Species in Your Garden

Gardening is a labor of love, a peaceful retreat, and a source of immense satisfaction. It can all be pretty wonderful, right? Unfortunately, when it comes to the labor of love, it doesn’t take much for it to be destroyed. In fact, this joy can be quickly overshadowed when invasive plant species decide to move in uninvited. While yes there are plenty of weedkillers that exist for DIYers, it’s still best to keep in mind when it comes to invasive species; they’re not always the easiest to kill. 

Surprisingly, it’s not always as easy as just plucking them out from your flower bed; there can be a lot of work that needs to go into this all. So, with that said, you don’t have to stress about this too much because, fortunately, there are ways to get an invasive species out of your garden and make them stay out! So, here’s exactly what you need to know when it comes to regaining control of your garden and restoring it to its natural balance!

Understanding Invasive Species

Are all invasive species a weed? Well, not necessarily. Invasive species usually means it’s not a species that’s native to the area. For example, dallisgrass is native to Brazil and Argentina; it’s not native to the US, so this is an invasive species; you’ll ideally want to look into dallisgrass killer to ensure that this doesn’t invade your garden. This is merely an example, but another one could be mint; now, it’s technically a native plant to North America, Europe, parts of Asia, and Australia, but because it’s able to escape cultivation and pretty much pop up everywhere (especially peppermint) then it’s labeled as invasive and a weed. 

But what else is there? Well, invasive species are non-native plants that spread rapidly, outcompeting local flora for resources like sunlight, water, and nutrients. They often lack natural predators in their new environment, allowing them to grow unchecked. This unchecked growth can lead to reduced biodiversity and altered ecosystems.

What are the Common Culprits?

Before you can tackle the problem, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Believe it or not, invasive plants can be surprisingly tricky to identify, especially since some, like bluebells and mint, can look quite pretty. However, looks can be deceiving. Weeds are the ultimate opportunists. They grow quickly and spread like wildfire. 


Weeds are perhaps the most common and universally despised invasive plants. They pop up everywhere, from cracks in the pavement to the middle of your flower beds. While some weeds can be easily pulled out, others have deep roots and can quickly regrow.


Bluebells are beautiful, with their charming bell-shaped flowers. However, certain species, like the Spanish bluebell, can become quite invasive. They spread through bulbs and seeds, forming dense colonies that can outcompete other plants.


Mint is a beloved herb, known for its fresh aroma, but at the same time, they’re notorious for its invasive nature. Once planted, it spreads aggressively through underground runners, taking over garden beds and crowding out other plants.

There are plenty of others, including dallisgrass, horseweed, nettle, crabgrass, dandelions, and the list could go on and on, but the ones mentioned above definitely have a reputation. 

How Can You Properly Manage and Prevent Weeds?

The best way to deal with invasive species is to prevent them from establishing in the first place, but of course, if you’re only just finding out what something is, then it’s already too late, right? Well, with that said, all you need to do is just regularly inspect your garden for any new, unfamiliar plants. Early detection makes it easier to remove them before they become a bigger problem.

Manual Removal

Sometimes, it can be as simple as this, but of course, it depends on the plant itself. For smaller infestations, manual removal can be highly effective. For the most part, pulling weeds by hand is straightforward, but ensure you get the entire root system to prevent regrowth. There are some plants like mint and nettle that usually have an extensive root network, so these would require thorough digging to remove all traces.


Not only is this ideal for drainage and preventing certain plants (like strawberries) from being cooked alive, but mulching can also be a great ally in the fight against invasive species. Just think about it for a moment: A thick layer of mulch can suppress weed growth by blocking sunlight. Organic mulches, like wood chips or straw, also improve soil health as they decompose.


So, this basically goes with what was being said above, but instead of mulch smothering them, it’s usually a garden tarp. This method starves the plants of light and water, eventually killing them. It works well for larger areas infested with weeds or mint.


Sometimes, the manual methods aren’t enough, so you can think of herbicides as a last resort. They’re not all created equally, so you really have to keep that in mind, but selective herbicides target specific plants without harming others, while non-selective herbicides kill all vegetation. This might sound obvious, but you have to always follow the instructions carefully and consider the impact on the environment and surrounding plants.

What If You Like the Invasive Species?

Needless to say, there are some plants and weeds that can be fairly problematic, but at the same time, they can be fantastic too. For example, if you have mint and you love mint tea, or using it for cooking, then sure, this is great! Do you love the look of bluebells? Great! How about dandelions and buttercups? 

If you like these, then you don’t have to see them as invasive, rather a nice touch to your garden. Just be mindful of where you plant them and keep an eye on their spread. In general, this doesn’t have to be a problem, but make sure you can try and control it so it doesn’t spread to your neighbors garden. But overall, seeing the silver lining in some of these can make it far more manageable! 

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