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

Tina Casagrand

Nominations Open for Invasive Plant Action Awards

Contact: Tina Casagrand, 417-299-1794, [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New awards program of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force to recognize exemplary work in invasive plant early detection and control.

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JEFFERSON CITY (May 13, 2019)—As public awareness grows about the harmful effects of invasive plants, the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) seeks to recognize individuals and groups performing outstanding work controlling invasive plant species on property in Missouri. Nominations for Invasive Plant Action awards are open now through July 1, 2019.

Nomination categories are for individual landowners, group collaborators, and researchers. Self-nomination is welcome; a recommendation by a natural resource professional is required to be eligible.

“There are many individuals and groups carrying out impressive invasive species control in every corner of the state,” says Carol Davit, chair of MoIP and executive director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. “We want to recognize those doing exemplary work and present them with an aware at an event of the awardee’s choice to be honored in front of their peers.”

By definition, invasive plants are those not native to a region whose abundance and/or rapid spread  harm economic and environmental resources. The Action Awards seek to demonstrate how control the spread of  invasive plants on Missouri farms, forests, woodlands, prairies, , gardens, roadsides and along waterways is wise stewardship.

Members of MoIP will evaluate nominations. MoIP is a resource of the Grow Native! program and the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

For more information and to submit nominations, please visit http://moinvasives.org/moip-invasive-plant-action-awards/

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The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) is a resource of Grow Native!—a 19-year-old native plant marketing and education program serving the lower Midwest. Grow Native! is administratively housed by the nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation. For more information about MoIP, visit www.moinvasives.org or call 417-299-1794; for more on the Grow Native! program at grownative.org or for more on the Missouri Prairie Foundation visit moprairie.org.

Callery Pear Buy-back Event in St. Louis, MO — April 26, 2019

by Tina Casagrand

Do your part to reduce this highly invasive tree that threatens native wildlife and causes difficulties for private and public landowners, and receive a free native tree!

Jefferson City, MO (April 15, 2019)—Homeowners with an invasive tree in their yard can celebrate Arbor Day in a special way this year: by cutting it down.

To spread awareness about how the invasive Callery pear causes harm to economics and environment, MoIP will partner with Forest ReLeaf and Forrest Keeling Nursery for a Callery Pear “Buy-back” offering on April 26. People who supply photos of themselves with a cut-down, in-bloom Callery pear tree in their yards will receive a free native tree to replace it. The offer is limited to one native tree per photo proof of cut-down tree. Participants are invited to pick up their trees at Forest Releaf CommuniTree Gardens Nursery, located in Creve Coeur Park (2194 Creve Coeur Mill Rd SOUTH, from Hwy 141/Maryland Heights Expressway) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., while supplies last.     

“People once planted Callery pear trees for the beauty of their spring blossoms,” says Carol Davit, director of Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) and chair of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP). “We now understand that when non-native Callery pear cultivars cross pollinate, the hybrid offspring become invasive, and are already causing harm to properties across the state.”

An inter-agency and inter-organizational resource of MPF’s Grow Native! program, MoIP’s principal goal is to make early detection and control of invasive plants a higher statewide priority. The MoIP website offers resources on how to control highly invasive species; and provides resources on native alternative trees to plant instead of Callery pear. “We don’t want to merely encourage landowners to keep invasive species from spreading; we want to teach people how to plant beneficial native species in place of invasive plants,” Davit says. “We are excited to partner with Forest ReLeaf, whose mission is to restore and sustain urban forests by planting trees and enriching communities.”

Native, noninvasive trees with white flowers blooming in April include serviceberry, wild plum, and dogwoods. This web page from the City of Columbia offers photos of native trees for comparison.

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is 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’.

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. Property owners are encouraged to cut the trees during spring (when they are easy to identify) as a means to reducing populations from spreading in unwanted areas.  (For details on how to treat cut stumps with herbicide, visit MoIP’s management page.)

Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

These cultivars are generally themselves unable to produce fertile seeds when self-pollinated, or cross-pollinated with another tree of the same cultivar. However, if different cultivars of Callery pears are grown in proximity (for instance, neighboring homes or strip malls), thanks to insect pollination, they often produce fertile seeds—carried by birds—that can sprout and establish wherever they are dispersed. Each year, older trees in urban landscapes produce viable seeds that contribute to growing infestations. Breaking this cycle begins with choosing native alternatives for future plantings, and controlling existing invasive populations.

Participants in the “Buy-back” will have the opportunity to receive one of the following trees native to Missouri: Bur Oak, Northern Red Oak, Shumard Oak, Roughleaf Dogwood, Buttonbush, and hackberry. Four hundred trees are available, each in 3-gallon containers and between 4 and 5 feet tall.

Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis and may go fast; call ahead to 417-299-1794 or 314-956-2561 to confirm availability. To be eligible for a free tree, participants must either bring a photo of themselves next to their cut-down Callery pear or email the photo ahead of time to [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I cut down my callery pear in the last year–can I still get a native tree to replace it?

A: Rules still apply: bring or email a photo of the downed tree or cut stump, preferably with you in it. Tree availability is on a first-come, first-served basis .

Q: I don’t have a chainsaw. Where can I get help having my Callery pear professionally removed?

A: 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.

Q: Can I have a voucher to pick up my tree?

A: If you email [email protected] ahead of time, we will log your photos, but we unfortunately are not equipped to keep track of orders ahead of time. Trees will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on April 26, 2019. We have 500 native trees available, but they may go fast; you may call ahead day-of to 417-299-1794 or 314-956-2561 to confirm availability.

Q:  I have 2 “Cleveland” Pear trees, would they be eligible?

A: Yes, absolutely, Cleveland Select is one of 26 cultivars of the Callery pear!

Q: I cannot transport a tree to Forest ReLeaf.

A: We’re not asking that people bring in a Callery pear tree itself – a simple photo of yourself with one cut on your property will do!  

Q: I live too far from St. Louis to make the trade worth it. Are any other cities doing a Buy-back?

Our hope is that the St. Louis Callery pear Buy-back is a smashing success so we can make a case for taking the program to other parts of the state in 2020.

However, the event in St. Louis is our only pilot location for the Buy-back model. 

As a task force, we are working to get invasive plants in more conversations. Our task force chair maintains a good relationship with the Missouri Municipal League, and she will present on the Buy-back and other MoIP projects at their upcoming conference in September. We also have many members and stakeholders tasked with sharing our information in their parts of the state.

Q: I wish Missouri’s county governments and the state would cut down their invasive pear trees on road sides and government land. They are contributing more than a homeowner with 1 tree. We all need to be part of the fight to support native trees.

A: Great point! We are working to get invasive plants in more conversations and out of more land–private and public alike.

As we explore ways to have an impact statewide, a common answer from government entities is that they need to hear from more citizens themselves who are concerned with issues such as invasive plants on public land. Any advocacy you and people in your circle can do will go far.

And there is a lot of good news! For instance, in 2018 Missouri State Parks released a comprehensive invasive species management plan for each of their parks. The Army Corps of Engineers is doing a lot of invasive plant work, as is Mark Twain National Forest. That’s only naming a few.

In fact, we are compiling a web page highlighting the commitments and work different state agencies are doing to address invasive plants. We hope to have this online before our next quarterly meeting July 9, 2019. Stay tuned, and thanks for your interest!

Q: I want to remove Callery pear from my property. What is the best way to ensure it does not grow back?

A: Please see Effective Control of Callery Pear – instructions by Dr. Reid Smeda, MU Extension, for the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force

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The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) is a resource of Grow Native!—a 19-year-old native plant marketing and education program serving the lower Midwest. Grow Native! is administratively housed by the nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation. For more information about MoIP, visit www.moinvasives.org, email info or call 417-299-1794; for more on the Grow Native! program at grownative.org or for more on the Missouri Prairie Foundation visit moprairie.org.

Forest ReLeaf of Missouri is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring volunteer efforts in planting and caring for our trees and forests, particularly those in our cities and towns. Since 1993, the organization has provided over 200,000 native trees for plantings throughout the region. www.moreleaf.org

Cut Down This Tree — Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force Encourages Replacing White-Blooming Callery Pear with Native Species & Promotes “Buy-back” Program

by Tina Casagrand
Cut Down This Tree — Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force Encourages Replacing White-Blooming Callery Pear with Native Species & Promotes “Buy-back” Program

Contact: Tina Casagrand, 417-299-1794, [email protected]

Donna Coble, 314-533-5323, [email protected]

Callery pear’s white blooms most obvious this time of year. This highly invasive tree threatens native wildlife and causes difficulties for private and public landowners.

Reid Smeda leads a tutorial on best management practices for controlling Callery pear against a backdrop of hundreds of Callery pear trees that took over an empty lot in Columbia, Mo. (photo from MoIP)

Missouri (April 8, 2018)—Call it the Jekyll and Hyde street tree of Suburban America. Once a favorite tree to plant for its profusion of spring blossoms and brilliant fall foliage, the Callery pear—also referred to as Bradford pear—is now becoming known as a weak-wooded, smelly, thorny nuisance.

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. Property owners are encouraged to cut the trees during spring (when they are easy to identify) as a means to reducing populations from spreading in unwanted areas. (For details on how to treat cut stumps with herbicide, visit MoIP’s management page.)

When non-native Callery pear cultivars cross pollinate, the hybrid offspring become invasive, meaning they are aggressive trees whose presence causes or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health.

“From China to our backyards and parks, Bradford pears brought white flowers and fall colors to many parts of the U.S. for decades,” said Dr. Reid Smeda, Professor in Weed Science from the University of Missouri. “Recent introduction of other cultivars led to hybridization and resulted in fertile seed production. Through foraging birds, escaped Callery pear populations have exploded, and threaten native biodiversity as these invasive trees steadily march into our native grasslands and forested areas, and are even becoming a headache for land developers. Don’t let the beauty of this beast fool you,” Smeda said.

Dr. Smeda is a member of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP). An inter-agency and inter-organizational resource of the Grow Native! program, MoIP’s principal goal is to make early detection and control of invasive plants a higher statewide priority. In February 2019, MoIP unveiled its statewide Invasive Plant Assessment that ranks the impact, abundance, and trend in abundance of 142 different invasive plant species.

The assessment found that, in regions with sufficient data, Callery pear’s presence imposed moderate to severe environmental degradation on the landscape, and its range is increasing at moderate to severe rates. The MoIP website offers resources on how to control this highly invasive woody species; and provides resources on native alternative trees to plant instead.

On April 26, 2019, as part of its 2019 Callery pear awareness campaign, MoIP will partner with Forest ReLeaf for a Callery Pear Buy-back offering. People who supply a photo of themselves with a cut-down, in-bloom Callery pear tree in their yards will receive a free native tree to replace it, one per household (or per cut-down tree), at Forest Releaf CommuniTree Gardens Nursery in Creve Coeur Park (2194 Creve Coeur Mill Rd) on April 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., while supplies last.      

The organizations caution owners to properly identify Callery pear against other native, noninvasive trees with white flowers blooming in April, including serviceberry, wild plum, and dogwoods. This web page from the City of Columbia offers photos of native trees for comparison.

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The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) is a resource of Grow Native!—a 19-year-old native plant marketing and education program serving the lower Midwest. Grow Native! is administratively housed by the nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation. For more information about MoIP, visit www.moinvasives.org or call 417-299-1794; for more on the Grow Native! program, or the Missouri Prairie Foundation, visit grownative.org or moprairie.org

Forest ReLeaf of Missouri is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring volunteer efforts in planting and caring for our trees and forests, particularly those in our cities and towns. Since 1993, the organization has provided over 200,000 native trees for plantings throughout the region. www.moreleaf.org

Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force Unveils Statewide Invasive Plant Assessment Feb. 7, 2019

by Tina Casagrand

New online tool will help prioritize invasive plant management efforts throughout Missouri

Jefferson City, MO (February 8, 2019)—Yesterday, at the Missouri Natural Resources Conference in Osage Beach, MO, Dr. Quinn Long, a member of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP), presented a statewide comprehensive invasive plant assessment during the workshop organized by MoIP, Invasive Species Collaboration: Informing the Masses, Building the Armies, Stemming the Flow, and Turning the Tide

“One of the biggest threats to Missouri’s—and the nation’s—native plants and animals, and to many facets of our economy, are invasive plants,” said Carol Davit, MoIP Chair and Executive Director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. “Invasive plants and animals—including that small percentage of non-native plants that, intentionally or accidentally, have been introduced here and have spread rapidly—are second only to outright habitat destruction in the loss of native biodiversity, can have negative impacts on our cattle, timber, and outdoor recreation industries, cause headaches for private landowners, and nationally, cost billions of dollars in control efforts annually.” 

Dr. Quinn Long, botanist, Director of Shaw Nature Reserve, and MoIP member, worked since 2015 to lead the MoIP working group that assembled and analyzed invasive plant data for the assessment. “This assessment—complete with maps for each of the 142 species assessed—will provide a valuable tool for landowners, land managers, and natural resource planners to focus their efforts on invasive plant management,” said Long. The assessment maps depict abundance, impact, and rate of spread of these plants in the state. 

“MoIP is a dedicated group of representatives from land-holding agencies and natural resource management professionals from across the state,” said Davit. “We are pleased to present this important new tool, which is critical to assertive, prioritized invasive plant management efforts. Many individuals have worked very hard to make this assessment possible, including more than 25 reviewers; Phillip Hanberry, contractor with the Missouri Department of Conservation who generated the assessment maps; and Tina Casagrand, MoIP contractor who loaded and linked all maps to the MoIP website, where they are available for all to consult and use.”MoIP is housed and administered by Grow Native!, a native plant education and marketing program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. The purpose of MoIP—working as a united, supportive front—is to review, discuss, and recommend actions related to managing known and potential non-­native invasive plant species that pose threats in Missouri and elsewhere in the lower Midwest. For more information about MoIP, definitions of invasive plants, and many other resources, visit www.moinvasives.org.

2019 Illinois Invasive Species Symposium Accepting Abstracts

The 6th annual Illinois Invasive Species Symposium will be held on May 23 at the Champaign County Extension Auditorium in Champaign, IL. Mark that date in your calendars because this event will provide an opportunity to learn about projects and programs underway to address all taxa of invasive species that are impacting Illinois’ natural lands and native species.

Registration will open for the symposium in late April.

We are now accepting abstract submissions for presentations.

Presentations should be on invasive species projects, research, or programs in Illinois. We are accepting submissions of presentations on all taxa of invasive species. Presentations will be 20-30 minutes in length.
Please email abstract submissions to [email protected] by April 12, 2019. Authors will be notified by April 29.

Abstract Format:
1. Title
2. Authors: Include author names and contact information. If there are multiple authors, please place an asterisk (*) after the name of the presenter(s)
3. Body of abstract: Body of abstract should be a single paragraph and provide a brief description of the presentation

Private and Public Property Owners Invited to Pledge to Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants

by Tina Casagrand
Private and Public Property Owners Invited to Pledge to Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants

Contact: Carol Davit, 573-356-7828, [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        

Private and Public Property Owners Invited to Pledge to Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants
The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force, a resource of the Grow Native! program, invites communities, campuses, businesses and other entities to commit to controlling the spread of invasive species on their properties.

Jefferson City, MO (December 3, 2018)—Property owners in Missouri are stitching a curtain of protection against invasive species spreading across the state. By taking the Pledge to Stop the Spread of Invasive Species, administered by the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP), stakeholders from private land, small businesses, the University of Missouri, and other entities are promising to not plant species known to be invasive. They are also budgeting economic and human resources toward controlling against the spread of invasive plants currently growing on their properties.

Few problems are as expensive, visible, and ignored as invasive plants. Estimated to cost the United States between $1.1 to 120 billion per year in economic losses, invasive plant species can lower property values, weaken ecosystem health, and threaten many facets of economic health, from the timber industry to livestock production. Because of their ability to thrive and aggressively spread in disturbed habitats, invasive plants can cost property owners thousands of dollars in remediation if not managed in the long-term. “The longer we ignore the problem the harder and more expensive the battle for control will become,” states the website of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.

“We commend all pledge-takers for publicly demonstrating their dedicated effort to stopping the spread of invasive plants,” said Carol Davit, Executive Director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, the nonprofit conservation organization and land trust that operates the Grow Native! program, and serves as Chair of the program’s Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP), a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency group working as a united front to foster greater statewide early detection and control of invasive plants. “We invite other educational institutions, corporate campuses, municipalities, neighborhood associations, and other entities to take the pledge as well to signal their commitment to joining the fight to control invasive plants and mitigate the serious threats they pose.”

MoIP Task Force members developed the pledge with a number of benefits in mind. First, signing the pledge signals the signer will commit resources to control invasive species—action that is increasingly being demanded of campus, business, community, and other entities with invasive plants on that property. Second, the pledge helps stakeholders understand that controlling invasive plants will take time. Additionally, when a community or other entity lets its stakeholders know it has signed the pledge, it provides an opportunity for stakeholders to get involved in the effort.

“Invasive plants are serious threats to Missouri’s native ecosystems, as well as many native plants and animals, the built environment, and many facets of the state’s economy, including cattle production, the timber industry, and many aspects of outdoor recreation, including fishing and hunting industries,” said Davit. “Missouri will control invasive species only with the concerted efforts of many entities, including private citizens working together. Our state is a long-time, nationwide leader in natural resource conservation, and by committing to invasive plant control as well, we can further safeguard Missouri’s habitats, fish, wildlife, and other cherished aspects of our natural heritage.” MoIP encourages educational institutions, corporate campuses, municipalities, neighborhood associations, and other entities to take the pledge.

Entities wishing to sign the pledge may do so via a Google form available at www.moinvasives.org. The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) can also provide a pledge document suitable for signing ceremonies and framing. Many resources on the identification and control of invasive plants, including native alternatives to invasive plants, are available from MoIP as well.           

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The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) is a resource of Grow Native!, an 18-year-old native plant marketing and education program serving the lower Midwest. Grow Native!’s parent organization is the nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation. For more information about MoIP, visit www.moinvasives.org; for the Grow Native! program or the Missouri Prairie Foundation, visit www.grownative.org, www.moprairie.org, call 888-843-6739 or send a message to [email protected].

Missouri Invasive Plant Action Awards

by Tina Casagrand

Do you know an individual or group who performs outstanding work related to controlling invasive plant species on property in Missouri? If so, please nominate them for an Invasive Plant Action Award!

New in 2019, the nominations will be evaluated by members of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP), a resource of the Grow Native! program and the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

How to Nominate:

Use our online form: Nominate via Google Form.

Download & email form: Download and complete a Microsoft Word nomination form and email to [email protected] You may also download the PDF.

a few people cutting invasive plants among a winter woodland landscape

Honeysuckle Hack 2017, photo submitted by Jay Doty, Magnificent Missouri

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We will present one award in each category:

    1. Single Landowner – (e.g., a private landowner, a corporation, school, or other single entity that has demonstrated progress in reducing invasive plants over at least two years)
    2. Group Collaborators – a collaborative network (e.g., homeowners, city park, school, business) working together to fight the spread of invasive plants in a particular geographic area that includes multiple landowners.
    3. Researchers – An individual or group who has published research on invasive plant management.

To submit a nomination for the Missouri Invasive Plant Action Award, please submit this form by July 1, 2019

*If for some reason you cannot use Google forms, please download and complete a Microsoft Word nomination form and email to [email protected] You may also download the PDF.

Our intention for the 2019 awards is for a MoIP representative to present the awards at  events of the winners’ choice (for example, a municipal or industry conference), so they can be honored in front of their peers and thus lead by example.

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Requirements for Single Landowners and Group Collaborators:

    • Self-nomination is allowed.
    • Nomination must be submitted by or include a recommendation letter from a natural resources professional (this may include Missouri Department of Conservation Private Land Conservationist, staff of other agencies who work with private landowners, private contractors, or professional staff working for the single landowner)
    • 1-page narrative about the “before and after” work of the collaboration or group
    • For Group Collaborators, application describes work on multiple properties as part of a group
    • Evidence of a long-term invasive plant management plan
  • We ask that the nominee(s) has/have been active in their leadership for two or more years.

Requirements for Researchers:

  • 1-page description of the nominee’s research, including background, methods, results and discussion, and how this research applies to invasive plant control and management?
  • Link to published papers, if available.

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To Nominate:

Submit nominations by July 1, 2019.

Use our online form: Nominate via Google Form.

Download & email form: Download and complete a Microsoft Word nomination form and email to [email protected] You may also download the PDF.

Please direct questions to Tina Casagrand at [email protected]

Download Guidebook on Management of Invasive Plants & Pests of Illinois

by Tina Casagrand

A comprehensive guidebook on Management of Invasive Plants & Pests of Illinois is now available online as a free download:

The book includes clear and direct recommendations for management of ubiquitous and emerging invasive species, including Japanese Hops, Tree of Heaven, Multiflora Rose and many, many more!

Though the guide is for Illinois, the vast majority of these species occur in our region.  As to specific control recommendations, the authors use precise language and clear instruction (clearly stating percentages as v/v as opposed to % active ingredient, clearly differentiating between triclopyr ester and triclopyr amine, etc).

A phenology calendar is available in a special pull-out section.

We are grateful to SIU-Carbondale, Morton Arboretum and University of Illinois Extension for creating this fabulous resource!

Download the Guide here: