Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) - to identify and control the invasive plant species that severely impact native biodiversity

Yearly Archives

4 Articles

Missouri Department of Agriculture Asks Residents to Report Unsolicited Seed Shipments

by Tina Casagrand

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Agriculture has received reports from residents of unsolicited seeds being delivered from foreign countries such as China and surrounding areas. Missouri’s announcement follows several states who have also reported packages of these seeds being delivered across the United States. Consistent with nationwide reports, the packages were labeled as jewelry, specifically stud earrings, bracelets and other accessories.

It is important to take steps to prevent the introduction of invasive species into Missouri to ensure safety of the environment, livestock and plants. The full risk associated with the seeds in question is unknown at this time. However, the seeds could be an invasive species that has the potential to destroy native plants and damage crops. Invasive species can also introduce diseases to plants and may be harmful to livestock.

If Missouri residents have received unsolicited seeds, the following guidance applies:

  1. Do not open the seed package.
  2. Do not plant the seeds if you have opened the package.
  3. Submit an online report to USDA verifying you have received unsolicited seeds.
  4. Do not dispose of the seeds, packages or envelopes until USDA provides further guidance.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is playing a cooperative role in USDA’s investigation; however, USDA is leading the effort from the federal level. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is also working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.

If opened, place seeds in a sealed bag and contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industries Division by phone at (573) 751-2462 or by email at [email protected].

To learn more about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov.

Invasive Landscaping Plants Now Illegal to Sell in Indiana

by Tina Casagrand

Among the big headlines this month was this big piece of invasive plant news from the Indianapolis Star: “Landscaping Plants Now Illegal to Sell in Indiana.”

“Under the Terrestrial Plant Rule, these plants are prohibited from being sold, gifted, exchanged or even transported within the state.”

The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force has a vision and a strategy for how to achieve a similar result in Missouri. However, it takes time.

We welcome support for the effort as MoIP continues to pursue this goal. Please send us a message at info [at] moinvasives.org to see how your organization can be involved.

2020 Award Nominations

by Tina Casagrand

MPF President David Young presenting the 2019 MPF Dick Dawson Prairie Pioneer Award to Jon Wingo. Past awardees are listed at the MPF and Grow Native! links above.

MPF, its Grow Native! program, and the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP), which MPF administers, is now accepting nominations for its  MPF awards  (prairie pioneer, prairie professional, prairie communicator, prairie volunteer, and prairie landowner);  Grow Native! awards , and the MoIP Invasive Plant Action Award .

One need not be a member of MPF to be nominated for an award. Current MPF board members are not eligible to receive an award. If you nominated someone in the past who was not selected for an award, we encourage you to renominate that individual. Nominations for the  MPF awards  and  Grow Native! awards  must be received by June 15, 2020.
Nominations for the  MoIP award  must be received by August 1, 2020.
Depending on the current public health situation, the MPF and Grow Native! Native Plant Pioneer Awards will be announced and presented at MPF’s Annual Dinner in Jefferson City, MO on August 8, 2020. We plan to present the Grow Native! Ambassador Award at the Grow Native! Professional Member Conference in November 2020. The MoIP Award will be presented at a venue of the awardee’s choice.
We appreciate and value your interest in and support of MPF, our Grow Native! program, and the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force.

What to Do with Your Callery Pears During Quarantine

by Tina Casagrand
What to Do with Your Callery Pears During Quarantine
Use flagging tape to mark your Callery pear trees while in bloom when they are easiest to identify. You can return to the tree and treat it when you are ready. Photo by Felicia Amman.

Our Callery Pear Buy-back events, both scheduled for April in St. Louis and Columbia, have been postponed indefinitely. However, we still encourage property owners to cut the trees during spring (when they are easy to identify) as a means to reducing populations from spreading.

Thank you for doing your part to help slow the spread of this invasive species!

As you remove Callery pear and other invasive plants, please send us a photo to [email protected] or mention us on Twitter and Facebook @moinvasives.

Here’s a quick overview on:

  • how to control Callery pears on your property
  • what to do if you currently don’t have the means to remove these invasive trees, and
  • how to spread awareness about invasive plants beyond your backyard.

Callery Pear invading roadside near Highway 50. Photo by Bill Ruppert.

What’s the problem with Callery pears?

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is a popular ornamental tree native to China. Several cultivars of the tree are offered commercially, including ‘Aristocrat’, ‘Autumn Blaze’, ‘Bradford’ (which is the commonly planted “Bradford pear”), ‘Capital’, ‘Cleveland,’ ‘Chanticleer’, ‘Redspire’, and ‘Whitehouse’.

When cultivars in the “Callery pear” family cross-pollinate, their fertile seeds sprout up and aggressively take over areas where they aren’t wanted. Escaped Callery pear can grow densely along roadsides, unmowed fields/meadows, open woods, or any other open areas. Emerging seedlings will require up to 3 years to be noticeable from a distance, and up to 5 years before trees begin to flower. 

We define an invasive plant species as “an aggressive, non-native species whose presence causes or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health.” These species grow and reproduce rapidly. 

MoIP is most concerned with invasive species because of their direct negative impacts. Callery pear, for instance, is costly to remove and devastating to the habitats where they crowd out native vegetation that is nutritious for local wildlife.

We are encouraging property owners to identify the trees during spring (when they are easy to identify) and remove them from your property as a means to prevent populations from spreading.

OK, I see I can help by removing Callery pears from my own property. What’s the best way to do that?

Use flagging tape to mark your Callery pear trees while in bloom when they are easiest to identify. You can return to the tree and treat it when you are ready. Photo by Felicia Amman.

The following advice comes from Dr. Reid Smeda, University of Missouri Extension, for the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force:

Control of trees is easier when they are small.

Do not mow seedlings or small trees, as single stem trees will re-emerge as multiple stem trees.

To control trees from seedlings to about 6 feet tall, leaves can be treated with some formulation of glyphosate. An effective rate is 2-4 quarts per acre of a concentrated form (not the Ready-To-Use formulation) of glyphosate. If you want to mix only one total gallon of spray solution, add 4-8 ounces of concentrated glyphosate to 1 gallon of water. Mix the herbicide in water and add a small amount of surfactant (0.5% of final volume). Spray the solution on pear leaves and be sure to cover the entire tree. Be careful to avoid spraying adjacent desirable vegetation, because glyphosate can damage that also. Trees can be treated once leaves come out in the spring until leaves turn color in the fall. Damage symptoms are slow to develop (30 days) and complete control of treated plants can take up to 7 months.

An alternative to treating Callery pear leaves is to treat the base of the tree. Optimum timing for this technique is fall through early winter. Pour a small amount of a concentrated form of glyphosate into a small open-mouth jar. Identify a small, 1 inch diameter, disposable paint brush. Add a small amount of food coloring to the jar and stir to dissolve the food coloring (I like red or blue). No surfactant is needed. Using a chain saw or other saw, cut the Callery pear tree down and make the final cut across the base of the trunk until only a short (about 1 inch) stump is visible. Within 20 minutes of the final cut, paint the top of the stump with a thick coating of the red-colored glyphosate. If control is effective, you will not see any shoots come from the base of the stump.

Be sure to wear gloves and all proper protective equipment as described on the glyphosate label.

Let’s help our native trees and get rid of Callery pear!

I don’t have a chainsaw or other control methods available right now. Is there anything I can do now to stop the invasion of Callery pear trees?

Yes! We encourage you to identify the trees in April while they are flowering and mark the tree with flagging tape or another secure, visible marker. You can go back and control the tree whenever you are ready.

Use flagging tape to mark your Callery pear trees while in bloom when they are easiest to identify. You can return to the tree and treat it when you are ready. Photo by Felicia Amman.

Please make sure you are identifying Callery pear properly. Callery pear limbs generally grow vertically, forming a pyramid or egg shape. In early April, very dense clusters of white flowers cover the tree before leaves form. In maturity, they reach heights of 30 to 40 feet.

See below for more information on proper identification:

Where can I get help having my Callery pear professionally removed?

Please refer to the Grow Native! Resource Guide listings for Arborists and Land Care & Landscape Services to find professionals in your area who can assist with tree removal. These companies are on board with the Grow Native! mission to protect and restore biodiversity.

The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force is housed under the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program.

How can I spread more awareness about Callery pear?

We all have a role to play in educating the public about invasive species and their impact on the economy and environment in Missouri and other places we love.

  • Plant native Missouri plants on your property. Learn more at GrowNative.org
  • On social media, share your photos of cutting down your own Callery pear with the facts provided above. Please tag us @moinvasives on Twitter and Facebook, and use the hashtag #InvasivePlant so we can share in your successes!
  • Engage your neighbors, local business owners, and other connections in conversation about invasive plants.
  • Ask your political representatives at the state, local and national level to support invasive species control efforts.

Remember, email us at [email protected] with a photo of your Callery pear removal. We will stay in touch with information about future Buy-backs.

Thank you again for doing your part.