Governor Kim Reynolds recently proclaimed June as Invasive Species Awareness Month in Iowa.
Invasive species, like emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, spongy moth and oriental bittersweet threaten Iowa’s ecosystem by competing with and destroying native trees and disrupting the natural complex habitat system.
Iowa woodlands, wildlands and waterways draw hundreds of thousands of tourists and recreational users each year. Much of the spread of Invasive species comes from people simply enjoying nature. Uninvited guests can hitch a ride on outdoor gear, shoes and clothes, traveling hundreds of miles in a single day.
Take these easy steps to stop the spread of invasive species in your community.
- Verify that the plants you buy for your yard or garden are not invasive. Many non-native plants can become invasive. Find quick ID photos and common management techniques to control 19 invasive trees, shrubs and plants on the DNR webpage at iowadnr.gov/Conservation/Forestry/Forest-Health/Invasive-Plants
- Look for spongy moth egg masses on all outdoor equipment when traveling from a spongy moth quarantined area.
- Clean your boots before and after you hike in a new area to avoid spreading seeds. This is a common way garlic mustard and other plants are spread.
- Do not buy or sell firewood from outside your county. Firewood can contain emerald ash borer, Sirex woodwasp, Asian longhorned beetle, oak wilt and many more pests. Plenty of firewood is available locally near state and county parks. Make sure to burn all of the firewood at the campsite and not leave it or transport to a new area.
- Work with your private lands district forester for plans to make your forests more resilient to invasive species. Find contact information and forest landowner assistance resources online at iowadnr.gov/Conservation/Forestry/Forestry-Landowner-Assistance.
Learn more about forest invasive species on the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/invasives.