They may be pretty. They might have started out in a garden. But the ornamental thugs of the plant world have become menaces to Virginia’s parks and natural spaces.
Fortunately, many Riverine Master Naturalists are committed to take back our wild places, removing invasive plants and trees and allowing the native plant life to return.
Why is this worth the effort? Well, fewer “natives” means fewer caterpillars and insects, because most require specific host plants (think Monarchs and milkweed, but on much broader scale). The food web depends on these larvae and insects, not just to provide food for birds and other wildlife, but to support pollinators. The payoff, when we’ve freed an area of invasives, is seeing the native plants and insects return, knowing that we have brought these natural areas back to life.