A climate action evanston program

Pull Invasives

What is an invasive and what to do about them.

More about this key action Item

most recent version posted on:
January 28, 2024

What is an Invasive?

  • Usually Non-native. There can be aggressive native plants.
  • No or few predators keep it in check
  • Spreads aggressively. Sometimes it chemically suppresses other competing plants.
  • Contributes to monoculture as it takes over.
  • Reduces diversity.
Lesser celandine

Why do we care about invasive plants?

  • Monoculture is boring.
  • Native plants are crucial for biodiversity. (Read about Natives and Keystone plants)
  • Native plants are adapted to our conditions (manage in stormwater and drought)

How to remove invasives?

  1. Pullout as much as possible. Weaken if you cannot remove.
  2. Smother.  With cardboard or plastic (solarize).
  3. Girdle with knife.
  4. Last choice: Limited poison. Cut and paint with Garlon or similar. Or girdle with garlon. Do not spray. Poison kills soil microorganism, good fungi. Vinegar with salt requires constant reapplication and may damage soil.
Common Buckthorn

Nature abhors a vacuum


Remember to plant or seed after removing invasives. Plant densely to keep out weeds.

Garlic Mustard

Native Alternatives to Invasives

  • Invasive: Lesser Celandine. Native Alternatives: Celandine poppy, wild strawberry, common blue violets, Virginia bluebells.
  • Invasive: Common or Glossy Buckthorn (especially pull females with berries.) Native Alternatives:  chokecherry, Chokeberry, Hazelnut, Missouri Gooseberry, Wild plum, Blackhaw viburnum or nannyberry.
  • Invasive: Dames Rocket. Natives: Woodland or Prairie Phlox. (Dames Rocket has 4 petals and the natives have 5 petals.)
  • Invasive: Garlic Mustard. Native Alternatives: Poppy mallow, Ohio spiderwort, White turtlehead, Foxglove beardtongue, many summer bloomers.
  • Invasives: Mugwort or Motherwort.  Natives: Beebalm, blue vervain, great blue lobelia or cardinal flower.
  • Invasive: Multiflora Rose. Natives: native roses, like Illinois or climbing rose (Rosa setigera), Carolina rose (Rosa Carolina), or early rose (Rosa blanda).
  • Invasive: Winged burning bush. Native Alternatives: Wahoo, Cherry, chokecherry, Chokeberry, Hazelnut, Blackhaw viburnum or nannyberry
  • Invasive: Tree of Heaven or Norway Maple.  Native Alternatives: many native trees, such as oak, hackberry, tuliptree and more.
  • Is Lawn an Invasive? Native Alternatives: Pennsylvania, Ivory or James Sedge, or Buffalo grass.


Our Eco-Friendly Yard and Garden Landscaping flyer

Our short guide to get your garden buzzing with life — attracting butterflies, bees, fireflies and birds.

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Our Natural Habitat Newsletter Signup

Sign up for the NHE Newsletter

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Gardening that Matters video presentation

Gardening that Matters. Get Started or Enhance your Native Garden.  March 2023 presentation to North Shore Senior Center's Tuesday Club. A simple way to take action for climate, community healthand biodiversity: Swap out your lawn for native plants.  Reconsidering theculture of lawns. Why it matters, steps to prioritize, how to get started, andhow to amplify the change. Leslie Shad of Natural Habitat Evanston presents.

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A Smarter Fall Cleanup

We now know that an overly aggressive approach to cleaning up in autumn can damage the environment. So what’s a responsible gardener to do?
Margaret Roach, The New York Times, A Smarter Fall Cleanup, 2020

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You're Needed! Here Are Some Involvement Opportunities

Donating to Climate Action Evanston and earmarking your donation for Natural Habitat Evanston. You can further earmark your donation to one of our initiatives.

Take the Pollinator and Bird Pledge

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Join our Pollinator Pledge and let the city and landscapers know we care about sustainable yards. Take an optional yard sign to spread the word.

Join the Natural Habitat Evanston Newsletter


Stay updated on green goings on in Evanston, workdays, advocacy issues and more.

Buffalo Grass Anyone?

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$25/bag to local residents (pickup; no shipping). We also have some $5 seed packets of bottlebrush and little bluestem grass. While supplies last. Emails should include your phone number and which species you are requesting. Pay by check payable to Citizens’ Greener Evanston at pickup.

Volunteer at plantings and invasive removals: parks and schools

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Help at outdoor workdays

Join No Mow May

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Rethink how you Lawn

Sign on: Northwestern students Petition for Bird-Friendly Films at Mudd Library

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Northwestern students Petition for Bird-Friendly Films at Mudd Library. Mudd Library accounts for over 14% of bird deaths and injuries on campus each year. Applying patterned window film to a portion of the building would dramatically reduce collisions that are fatal to birds.

More Ways to Volunteer: Spread the word

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Share out brochures, doorhangers, or flyers. Collect a bunch of materials on the 5th Ward Tree Giveaway, Pollinator Pledge, Eco landscaping, Yard care, Light pollution, Leaf blowers are an eco-disaster, or Buffalo Grass.

Join our Facebook Group

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Get updates and share your thoughts on our FB Group. You can also check out our FB page here https://www.facebook.com/NaturalHabitatEvanston

More yard signs: Mowing, Leaves, Leafblowers?

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Just want to spread the word on certain steps? Mow Less-Leave Leaves (2-sided yard sign) or Leafblowers sign

Join the Isabella Woods Newsletter

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Get news the next time there is a threat to Isabella Woods. (Only sent when there is news.)

Certify with National Wildlife Federation

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Provide Food, Water, Shelter, Places to Raise Young and Sustainable Steps for wildlife. It helps Evanston maintain its NWF Community-wide Wildlife Habitat certification.