How to manage invasive species

A water feature within your garden, whether it’s a pond, lake or even a waterfall, can provide a haven for aquatic wildlife and plants. It acts as a refuge, increasing biodiversity. However, there are some invasive species, such as plants, animals or pathogens that are non-native to the eco-system and whose introduction can or is likely to cause harm to surrounding nature.

What is an invasive species?

An invasive species is an organism that is not native to a particular area, in this case your pond or lake. To be invasive, a species must adapt to a new area easily, reproduce quickly and harm its surrounding environment.

Most of the time, an invasive species is introduced due to human activity. Sometimes it can be intentionally, to change the environment as a form of pest control, or other times unintentionally as people, and goods we purchase, often travel around the world carrying with them unwanted species.

What harm can an invasive species cause?

42% of endangered species are at risk due to invasive organisms. This is because they outcompete native animals and plants for nutrients including food, water and sunlight.

Take Himalyan Balsam for example, which can shade out native plant species on river banks resulting in the plants dying back and leaving the area bare of vegetation and liable to erosion.

Japanese Knotweed is another nuisance species. It is known for its fast growth and can often cause heave below concrete and tarmac, damaging buildings and surfaces. Studies show that a 1cm section of the species’ stem can produce a new plant in 10 days.

The harm caused is often dependent on the species itself and so it can often be good to speak with an expert who can advise you.

How can I manage an invasive species?

The good news is that there is always something to be done to manage the invasive species.

The first step would be to fully identify the species which is growing. For example, a Giant Hogweed has a reddish-purple stem with fine spines that make it appear furry whereas a Hemlock Water Dropwort has a unique smell of parsley or celery.

The removal process would then depend on the strength and toxicity of the organism. Sometimes a herbicide treatment could do the trick or other times we would recommend mechanical cutting or dredging of the material to prevent its spreading.

The time of year is also a key factor as each species has a different growing season.

If you are suffering with an invasive species then it is always best to seek guidance from an expert so that they can deal with the matter quickly and efficiently before any further potential harm is caused. Our team of experts can be on hand to support you in creating a thriving native ecosystem.

If you need expert advice on removing invasive species, be sure to check out this article on our website

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