Friday, July 20, 2012

New Ways to Get Rid of Those Pesky Invasives

The Ecological Landscaping Association recently wrote an article detailing creative uses for invasive plants, including eating them, building with them, and creating stationary.
We picked out some of our favorite ideas, but you can visit the ELA's site about invasive species for more information.
Eat knotweed when it looks like this. Or else . . . 
The first option is, eat them! 20 of the 66 invasive species in Massachusetts are edible.  The ELA article focuses on knotweed recipes like pie and cake.  You can also put knotweed in jams and fruit butters, if you harvest knotweed in early may, it can replace rhubarb in a lot of recipes, and it tastes sour like an apple.
It will become like this.
For more information on eating invasives, check out "Eat the Invaders", you can find recipes for knotweed, kudzu blossom sorbet, purslane (not quite an invasive), and dandelions. This site offers a lot of advice on eating invasive animals - I'm not quite there, but if you want to try eating Asian carp or wild boar, all the more power to you. There are even more recipes in Wild Flavors a cook book in which the main ingredient is weeds.

You can make crafts out of invasive vines, like bittersweet.  When I was young I used to make bittersweet wreaths. You have to be careful not to move any bittersweet berries (or else you might spread the invasive!) Nancy Riley uses bittersweet to make furniture in the ELA article.

Now identifying and removing invasives in your yard can be fun! Consult with Connecticut Invasive Plant Council's list and also use this guide from the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District.


  1. I live in southwest Florida (zone 9) and am trying to make a hedge using mexican petunias. but the ants are destroying them. Is there anything I can use without destroying the plant itself? A lot of people say these are invasive plants, not in my yard.

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