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

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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 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 (2194 Creve Coeur Mill Rd) 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]

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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

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.

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]