Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States
Before choosing plants for your yard, consult the Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States: Identification and Control Web site. You might be surprised at how many commonly available plants are considered invasive and should be avoided, including Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), winged burning bush (Euonymus alata), and several types of privet (Ligustrum).
Tool or Gardening Product
I avoid using herbicides, but there are some tenacious weeds that just can't be controlled by hand-pulling. Before the recent floods, our stream bank was a mix of trees, shrubs, and vines, and we had been struggling to prune out the very invasive multiflora rose thicket. Then, the floods washed everthing away. Wouldn't you know, the first plant back to colonize the ravaged area is multiflora rose. With its tenacious roots and wickedly sharp thorns, it's a nightmare to pull. I'm hoping that by repeatedly flaming the sprouting foliage, I'll eventually deplete the roots' reserves and control the plant, without resorting to herbicides.