Can’t see the invasive species for the trees? Check your woods


LONDON, Ohio — Once an invasive vegetative species takes hold in woodland areas, eradicating it is next to impossible.

Ohio State University Extension forestry specialists are joining industry representatives at Farm Science Review to educate woodland owners on best land management practices to better deal with invasives.

They take over

“Invasive species are very good at getting into forest canopy openings and taking over. They force out native wildflowers, trees and shrubs, and you end up with a green understory of invasive plants that are the first to green up in the spring and the last to lose leaves in the fall,” said Kathy Smith, an OSU Extension program director in forestry.

“As a result, none of the native vegetation stands a chance.”

The top three invasive species running rampant through Ohio’s forests include bush honeysuckle, ailanthus (Tree of Heaven) and autumn olive.


The Gwynne Conservation Area at Farm Science Review will be the place for land management presentations and demonstrations using extraction equipment. The demonstrations will remove bush honeysuckle on the Gwynne grounds.

“The extraction equipment helps to eradicate unwanted vegetation and uproots larger trees and shrubs, so other management techniques such as foliar sprays can be more easily conducted,” said Smith.

“Controlling invasive species can be a daunting task. By the time you have a green understory of unwanted vegetation, landowners throw up their arms in defeat. I mean, where do you start?”

Smith said the information being offered at Farm Science Review is intended to help landowners weigh various management options.

Tools to tackle. “Now that federal monies are being made available through EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) to control invasives in woodlands, we now need to figure out how to give landowners the tools to best tackle the problem,” said Smith.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources forestry specialist Steve McGinnis will lead a presentation on “Invasive Plant Species in Ohio’s Woodlands” at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 22 at the Gwynne Conservation Area Woodland Amphitheatre and at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 23 at the Wildlife Amphitheatre.

There will also be invasive species extraction demonstrations at 12:30 p.m. each day at the Woodland Amphitheatre.


The Gwynne Conservation Area will host over 20 various natural resources seminars during Farm Science Review. Topics include controlling aquatic plants and algae, wetlands, bats, coping with Canada geese, muskrat management, tree identification, emerald ash borer, maple syrup, conservation tree planting, selling timber and native warm season grasses.

For a more detailed schedule, visit and click on “schedule.”

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  1. The truth is that humans are worst invaders out there. Great care should be taken before deciding on removing so called invaders, as you are likely to cause damage you don’t intend, especially when toxic herbicides are part of your ‘solution’. Humans have devastated the environment, brought in new seeds, plants and animals, and now even the climate and atmosphere is changing in major ways. Trying to ‘manage’ a problem you don’t understand will likely cause more harm.


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