Gardening with Native Plants and Controlling Invasives

Rattlesnake Master Kankakee Sands Restoration ProjectOn Sunday The Assoc. of Beverly Shores Residents hosted a panel to discuss invasive species, their impact on the dunes region, and what residents can do to control these species and replace them with native ones.

Paul Quinlan of Shirley Heinze Nature Trust, Rafi Wilkinson of the Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy, and Bill Schaudt, the architect of the Environmental Restoration Group’s Bob Beglin Memorial Wildflower Garden all provided information on prominent invasive species in our region, methods to control these invasives, and native species that can replace invasive ones in residents’ gardens. For example, Paul Quinlan recommended planting goat’s rue, fragrant sumac, spicebush, common winterberry, prairie dropseed, purple love grass, and big bluestem to replace invasive shrubs, grasses, and forbs. For a full list of invasive species to avoid and native species to plant instead, click the link below.
Plants to Avoid and Native Alternatives

Invasive species are a significant threat to the health of the Indiana dunes. As many of you know, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore ranks in the top five most biodiverse national parks in the country; that biodiversity is threatened by the establishment of invasive species in the dunes. We can all work to protect our own backyards, parks, and the dunes region as a whole from the threat of invasive species.

For more information on controlling invasive species, visit the Midwest Invasive Plant Network’s website here.
If you are interested in planting more native species in your garden, check out local nurseries such as Cardno JFNew and Native Connections or stop by the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society’s annual plant sale and auction on Mother’s Day or the Friends of the Indiana Dunes’ plant sale on April 12.

Save the Dunes, along with panelists Shirley Heinze Land Trust and Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy, are members of the Indiana Coastal Cooperative Weed Management Area (ICCWMA) led by the Nature Conservancy. Other members include the National Park Service, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Lake County Parks and Recreation, and the Northern Indiana Public Service Company. The ICCWMA meets to discuss invasive species threats, control methods and ongoing projects, and potential collaborations and work days between groups. To learn more about the ICCWMA, click here.

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