Invasive species vs. native species
When an invasive species is introduced to a new location, there are several ways it might take over the spot. Here are a few examples of the common ways invasives out-compete native species:
- Invasive trees like tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa), as well as vines like kudzu (Pueraria montana) and Japanese hops (Humulus japonicus), grow more rapidly than the native alternatives, shading out their seedlings.
- Some invasive plants, including garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), release chemicals into the soil that suppress the growth of other plants, either by preventing the other species from germinating, impeding their uptake of nutrients and water, or other methods.
- Two of our most common woodland invasive plants, bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei), shade native species with their dense vegetation, especially during the spring growing period; you may have noticed that bush honeysuckle is one of the first plants to leaf out in the spring and one of the last to lose its leaves in the fall, while wintercreeper keeps its leaves year-round.
- Most invasive plants take advantage of the fact that the insects and bacteria that keep them under control in their native habitats are not present in their new home.