Watch out for invasive shrubs sold in garden centers

Some shrubs that are commonly found in garden centers are actually invasive species. They may appear harmless but have the potential to cause widespread environmental damage when escaped from cultivation.
Invasive shrubs are popular because they tend to grow quickly, leaf before other plants, and produce lots of berries. Unfortunately, these characteristics also allow them to appropriate natural spaces.

Invasive shrubs like honeysuckle can form dense thickets that are incredibly difficult to remove. They also crowd out native plants and degrade wildlife habitats. The invasive honeysuckle can be confused with native species of honeysuckle, but non-native varieties can be distinguished by their hollow stems.

Other shrubs can even threaten human health, such as Japanese barberry, which is home to deer ticks that can carry Lyme disease.
If you have an invasive shrub growing in your garden, you can help improve native wildlife habitat by removing it. The best time to remove invasive shrubs is from late summer until the first hard frost or on days when the sap is flowing. This occurs on days when the temperature reaches between 40 and 45 ° F during the day and drops below freezing at night.

Felling the shrub and applying a concentrate of glyphosate or triclopyr to the freshly cut stump is an effective control method. There will likely be some regrowth, so follow-up treatment may be necessary.

For help identifying invasive species or advice on purchasing herbicides, contact NCCISMA at 231-429-5072 or email You can also visit To learn more about native alternatives to invasive shrubs, visit the Midwest Invasive Plant Network at Brochures on native plants are available in your local conservation district.