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Weed Wrangle at Home

What is Weed Wrangle?

Weed Wrangle is a one-day, area-wide, volunteer effort to help rescue our public parks and green spaces from non-native invasive species through hands-on removal of especially harmful trees, vines, and flowering plants. Supervised by an expert in invasive weed management, Weed Wrangle volunteers learn, practice and begin a habit of maintaining an area free of non-native invasive plants and encourage replanting with natives in removal areas. By engaging our neighbors and challenging them to take action in their own spaces, we hope to create a movement that will have the greatest impact on the invasive plant population.

Aggressively Invasive Plants

Not all non-native plants are considered invasive (think daffodils, camellias, and many roses, just to name a few). However, many plants introduced to North America exhibit an aggressive nature due to their ability to grow vegetatively, bloom, and produce copious amounts of seed in an extremely rapid manner. Pair this advantageous trait with a wide adaptability to climate and cultural conditions and little to no disease or pest issues…green monsters are lurking in everyone’s backyard!

Below are three of the most common and recognizable plants to eliminate from your greenspace.

Lonicera mackii (Amur bush Honeysuckle)

The fragrance of these sweet-smelling honeysuckle shrubs may activate the olfactory senses and induce a cherished memory for many, but there are major consequences to turning a blind eye to this plant.

Native alternatives:

Ligustrum japonicum (Privet)

Ligustrum japonicum

Used to create lush and effective edges, there are Asian and European species of this plant that have taken over natural woodlands.

Native alternatives:

Vinca major and V. minor (Periwinkle):

With an innocent-sounding name, this groundcover is known to encroach and strangle its green neighbors. Don’t let the attractive bloom fool you.

Native alternatives:

To Help With Wrangling

As with any project, it is important to have the right tools for invasive plant removal. Weeds refers to any plant in the wrong place. These misplaced plants can range from a small, herbaceous, shallowly rooted plant to a full-grown tree. Closely inspect the property to best understand the type of tools needed for the project. The following list are common tools used for removing plants big and small.

  • Hand pruners
  • Loppers
  • Handsaw
  • Shovel
  • Post digger
  • Soil knife (Hori-hori)

About Native Plants

After the wrangle has ceased, it is important to know that the newly fallow land will not stay so for long, inviting the most persistent of species to grow. It is important to install native plant material as soon as possible. These plants will cover the soil’s surface area, providing competition to any non-native species. As importantly, installing the native plants will restore biodiversity to the landscape. The native alternatives to each invasive species listed above are only suggestions. There are tons of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and groundcovers native to Tennessee to choose from.

Plants adapted to a location tend to thrive in that location. When plants not only survive, but flourish, then the surrounding elements also benefit. Native plants show excellent performance because over time they have naturally evolved to develop resistances to many common diseases and pests in their community. This can lead directly to a reduction in pesticide use. Less pesticide use results in improved water quality and aquatic life due to less chemical runoff occurrences.

For additional reading about invasive species, methods of weed removal, and Weed Wrangle, please visit this resourceful link: https://www.tnipc.org/. It is always a great idea to do one’s own research to correctly identify plant material and effectively access the situation. And remember – wear gloves and drink plenty of water!

Native Plant Guide

Volunteer for Weed Wrangle

Weed Wrangle 2021 Volunteer Team

March 5, 2022 | 9 AM – 12 PM 

Volunteer with Cheekwood’s horticulture team and learn to identify and remove invasive plants at our gardens for the Weed Wrangle event!  This is an important conservation initiative as we join our community partners in enhancing our environment. 

Learn more


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