The Q&A Archives: Invasive Species

Question: I am trying to plant a privacy hedge in our backyard in mid-michigan, and am very concerned about using any non-native species and any invasive plants. Our backyard borders 15 acres of native woodland, and everyone else, including our yard, has invasive plants trying to move into this native area. Plants such as lily of the valley, and especially vinca. I don't want to add to this problem. I see that European Highbush Cranbery is non-native and invasive, how about Doublefile viburnum? I would love to plant that along the 50 feet in our backyard which will be under electric wires also. Any chance it will spread into the forest?

Answer: Afraid I have bad news about the doublefile viburnum. Although it does not appear on the invasive list for Michigan, it has been placed on the list of recognized invasives in several mid-Atlantic states. I think that in itself is enough to make me steer away from planting it near a native woodland.

The University of Michigan suggests using the following native plants as screening hedge material:

Allegany serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis), Shadblow serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea); Spicebush (Lindera benzoin); Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), Smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina), Winged sumac (Rhus copallina);
Downy arrowwood (Viburnum rafinesqueanum), Maple leaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium), or Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago).

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