Prevent The Spread Of Terrestrial Invasive Species
There are a lot of ways that invasive species spread on land. Many species, such as invasive insects, can spread by moving on their own. However, a lot of the movement of invasive species is caused by people. Did you know that seeds of invasive plants can get stuck to your clothing, and on the bottom of your boots? Or that certain invasive insects lay their eggs on cars and inside firewood? These are all common ways that invasive species spread. Knowing how to check for and remove invasive species can prevent their spread to new areas.
Tips for Campers, Hikers, Hunters, and Getting Outdoors
Seeds from invasive trailside plants often stick to clothing and get stuck in boot treads. Here are some tips you can use to prevent the spread of invasive species on your clothes and equipment.
- Wear outer clothing that is not "seed-friendly." Cover wool, fleece, Velcro® and other fabrics that seeds easily cling to with jackets, pants and gaiters made of smoother materials, like nylon.
- Avoid wearing footwear with deep tread, which collects plants, mud and other debris.
- When conditions/terrain call for deep tread, clean footwear thoroughly.
- Remove any seeds from clothing, boots, and equipment before and after you go outdoors. Carry a brush, small scissors, and other tools for cleaning clothing/gear.
- Look for and remove seeds, plant pieces, and insects on:
- Hair and clothing;
- Gear and equipment;
- Vehicles and trailers; and
- Dogs, horses, and other pets.
- Dispose of debris at designated cleaning stations or in a garbage can. If these areas are unavailable, clean in parking lots or driveways where invasive pests are unlikely to spread. Avoid cleaning near waterways; invasive species can easily spread to new areas downstream.
- Stay on marked trails.
- Invasive insects and diseases spread through the movement of firewood. Before bringing wood with you when camping or vacationing, check NYS's firewood regulation.
Check out more tips on the Play Clean Go website (leaves DEC website).
Tips for Gardeners and Landscapers
- Use native plants when gardening and landscaping.
- Check out our guides to native flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees (PDF). See also our Plant Wise New York brochure (PDF) or Plante A Consciencia NY (PDF) brochure, en español.
- Check the contents of seed mixes and use only those native to your state or region.
- Familiarize yourself with NYS's prohibited and regulated plant species.
- Use a local source of mulch to reduce the possibility of introducing invasive species in your yard.
- Learn how to properly dispose of invasive plant material. Different species require specific methods to ensure they are not accidentally propagated.
Learn how to properly dispose of invasive plant material.
Don't Move Firewood
Untreated firewood may be carrying the eggs, larvae, spores, or seeds of invasive species. Moving untreated firewood from place to place is one of the most common ways that invasive species such as, emerald ash borer, oak wilt, and Asian longhorned beetle, spread. Keep untreated firewood within 50 miles of its source origin - it's the law.
- Visit our page on firewood and invasive pests to learn about New York State's firewood regulation.
Other Ways You Can Help
- Volunteer with your PRISM to help remove invasive plants, learn about new ones, and or join in another activity they host.
- Report invasive species you find. Visit New York iMapInvasives (leaves DEC website) to learn how.
- See something strange in your yard, forest or field? Take pictures, collect specimens and we'll help you identify it at the Forest Health Diagnostic Lab.
- For general invasive species questions, email us at [email protected].
- Familiarize yourself with New York State's invasive species regulations.
- Cornell IPM's Alternative to Ornamental Plants: A Sustainable Solution for New York State (leaves DEC website)
- Lady Bird Johnson's Wildflower Center - Native Plants of North America (leaves DEC website)
- NY Flora Atlas (leaves DEC website) - Where you can check if a plant is native to New York State or not