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New homeowner seeks advice after inheriting forest of 'suffocating' plants invading their property: 'Many were purposely planted'

"Any help for eradicating invasive plants, ideally without chemical intervention?"

"Any help for eradicating invasive plants, ideally without chemical intervention?"

Photo Credit: iStock

Too many people have discovered firsthand the destructive and ecosystem-ruining impacts of invasive species. One new homeowner hoped to avoid this and turned to Reddit for advice.

"You get an invasive and you get an invasive! Everyone gets an invasive!" they wrote in the subreddit r/gardening while trying to explain the scope of the problem.

They proceeded to detail just how many non-native species they found on their property, including Japanese barberry, buckthorn, Timothy grass, honeysuckle, and burning bush. 

"Many were purposely planted given the rock borders around them. One of the buckthorns was so tall and suffocating, I had no idea it was growing all the way around a crabapple tree," they shared, noting that they had been able to reduce the buckthorn to eight stumps. 

The original poster wanted to continue removing the invasive plants from their property, but they didn't want to create more damage. 

"Any help for eradicating invasive plants, ideally without chemical intervention? I'd like to avoid herbicides and would eventually love to encourage more native plants," they wrote, adding that they were "semi seriously" thinking about renting goats. 

Chemical solutions may seem like an easy fix, but they are expensive and leach harmful toxins into the environment. While the goat idea may sound far-fetched, gardeners have had success with this natural method. The grazing hooved creatures can assist with wildfire prevention, weed control, and the removal of invasive species like ivy, and if the goats aren't raised just to clear yards, it's a more environmentally friendly method than hiring a landscaping crew using gas-powered equipment.  

"Goats are highly effective," one Redditor confirmed.

Another commenter explained that it would take hard work over multiple years to eliminate the invasives, with hand pulling, sheet mulching, and root cutting helpful methods. However, they encouraged the OP to replace the troublesome growth with native plants

Unlike invasives, native species are adapted to the ecosystems in which they are growing, meaning that they require far less water. They also don't need mowing or fertilizers. All in all, rewilded yards can save homeowners nearly $400 on lawn maintenance every year. 

They also support local wildlife and pollinators, the latter of which supports more than one-third of our world's food crops. On the other hand, invasive species lead to reduced biodiversity.

It sounds like the OP has a long way to go to achieve their dream yard, but happily, they don't have to do everything at once. Clover, buffalo grass, and xeriscaping are other popular eco-friendly landscaping options that can be introduced in phases. 

In the meantime, the OP is receiving the sympathy and support of other Redditors. 

"Just here to say that I feel your pain. Previous homeowners planted Trumpet vine all over the place," one person shared

"Ugh I relate," another said. "Bradford pear in my yard broke basically in half last week in a storm that I then had to deal with."

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