Give an Inch and They’ll Take an Acre

Periwinkle flowers
Periwinkle is a highly invasive groundcover that leaves no room for native plants 

Sometime in the 1700s, someone set sail from Eurasia to North America with the glossy green leaves and abundant purple flowers of periwinkle safely stowed below deck. Centuries later, we’re discovering the unintended consequences.

Periwinkle was brought to North America as an ornamental garden plant. But we’re now learning that this aggressive, invasive ground cover spreads in thick mats, blanketing sensitive habitat and preventing tree seedlings and other native plants from growing. There’s a fairly good chance you’ve seen it growing somewhere. Maybe even your yard?

Periwinkle is just one of many (184 to be exact) invasive species identified in the Credit River Watershed. Others include common buckthorn, dog-strangling vine, and phragmites. Invasive species threaten biodiversity worldwide. CVC has committed to managing 72 invasive species on priority lands in the Watershed over the next 10 years. To help stop the spread, here are five easy things you can do too:

  1. Contact one of our stewardship coordinators to arrange a site visit to help you identify invasive species and prepare a management plan.
  2. Learn how to identify and remove invasive plants.
  3. Buy firewood where you plan to burn it. Moving firewood can transport invasive species like the emerald ash borer that has killed millions of trees in Canada.
  4. Check your clothes and your pup after a hike in the woods. Invasive species, like garlic mustard, can hitch a ride on your bikes, shoes and your pets.
  5. Garden wisely. Some invasive species, like periwinkle, goutweed, and English ivy, are sold at plant nurseries. Plant native species instead, like bunch berry, wild ginger, and coral bells.

Detect early and respond rapidly to stop invasive plants

Watch these videos to learn how to identify two of the most pervasive invasive plants found in the Credit River Watershed and steps you can take after finding them.  
1. Invasive dog-strangling vine infestations can be costly to remove. Learn how to catch it before it spreads. Watch now. 
2. Learn what you can do if you find invasive species, like common buckthorn, on your property. Watch now.

Just one small thing – Small steps for big change

When Caledon landowner Andre Leitert discovered an invasive buckthorn infestation on his 14-acre property, he knew there was only one thing to do: grab his chainsaw and get to work. With help from CVC’s stewardship and restoration teams and funding from CVC’s Landowner Action Fund, Andre has been able to control the spread of the invasive shrub. “We still have a few years of control to go,” he says, “but we’re already enjoying more of the property.”

Learn how the Landowner Action Fund can help you control invasive species on your property.

Landowner standing wtih a weed wrench
Andre Leitert
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