Native Trees/Controlling Invasive Plants
Native woodland habitats are threatened in Ohio by land-use change and development and competition from invasive plants. Invasive plant species are non-native species that have been documented to outcompete native plant species on many sites to the point of harming ecosystems. Invasive species often grow very quickly, spread quickly, and have few or no natural enemies. If left alone, invasive plant species can eventually form a monoculture, which provides minimal benefits compared to a diverse native plant ecosystem. Native plants are the foundation of diverse biological communities that Ohio’s native wildlife depends upon.
An example of a non-native invasive plant is tree-of-heaven (or ailanthus). Tree-of-heaven will outcompete most native tree species in woodland openings or edges. If left alone, tree-of-heaven can become the dominate tree species in a woodland stand. Tree-of-heaven produces a chemical that suppresses the growth of many native plants (a biological phenomenon called allelopathy). Without management, a monoculture of tree-of-heaven can form, which has very low wildlife value and very little timber value since tree-of-heaven is not a sought-after wood.
You can help maintain diverse native woodland habitats by planting your landscape with native trees, shrubs, and plants and by removing invasive plants found on your property.