Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council

 January 2, 2015

Our Mission

To protect Tennessee's unique natural heritage from the ecological and economic harm of invasive plants through research, education, and policy. 

Noteworthy News
TN-EPPC Board Member Changes

Unfortunately, Dr. Jack Ranney had to step down as acting President.  Kitty McCracken will serve as interim President until regular elections can be held in August 2015.  Dr. Belinda Esham will serve as interim Vice President.  We are very grateful for the time and effort Jack dedicated to this organization and we all miss him.  Hopefully, he will be able to return to the Board in the not-so-distant future.
Kitty McCracken, Interim TN-EPPC President
Letter from the President



It is hard to believe that TN-EPPC has been around for 20 years! We will be holding a conference, "TN-EPPC at Twenty: A Look Back, A Vision Forward", at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, TN on February 27th. Details are given elsewhere in this newsletter, and registration is available on our website. We will have a panel discussion regarding future directions for TN-EPPC which will be of value to the individual homeowner as well as federal, state and city landowners in Tennessee. I would appreciate any input you may have toward making this panel discussion productive and worthwhile.

TN-EPPC continues to partner with the larger organizations of the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (SE-EPPC) and the National Invasive Plant Council (NA-IPC) to identify invasive exotic plant species and map the spread of non-native invasive plants across the landscape. Establishing such a database and ranking plants as to threat level is important in educating landowners regarding potential invasive plant threats, developing treatment options, and working to control new threats as early as possible.

Partnering is an important aspect in assuring overall control of invasive exotic plant problems. Whether becoming involved in local efforts to clear parks and greenways of invasive plants or contacting professionals to create management and treatment plans for large corporate or government entities, working together to identify, treat and control invasive plants is essential.

News and Resources

February 22-28, 2015


Multiple events are planned for this in Nashville, in cooperation with many partners and including our 20th Anniversary Conference.  More information can be found here.  Please share widely! We hope to see you there. 


Join us for TN-EPPC's Twentieth Anniversary Conference on Friday, February 27, 2015. The conference will take place where it all began in 1994, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville. We are pleased to have as our keynote speaker Dr. Dan Simberloff, the Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Science in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a renowned researcher on invasion biology. In addition, there will be a slate of presenters with short programs on topics such as national  EPPC standards, economic costs of invasive species, invasion and management trends, future projections, and cooperative partnership models. We'll also take a quick look at TN-EPPC's history and invite attendees to help us plan our future.  Tennessee Department of Agriculture has assigned five pesticide applicator points to the conference in categories 2, 3, 6, 10, and 12.

Doors will open at 8:00 a.m. CST, and the conference will begin at 9:00 and wrap up at 4:00. Detailed directions and maps are available on the  TN EPPC website.  A copy of the agenda can be downloaded here

 Conference Social:


On Thursday, February 26, in conjunction with the conference, Invasive Plant Control (IPC) is hosting hikes of the Warner Parks' Hill property, an urban old-growth forest, now a state natural area. Two one-hour hikes are scheduled at 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. (limited to 20 people each).  A social with light hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.  


Conference Registration Details:

Conference fees are $40 for TN-EPPC members, $50 for non-members (price includes a year's membership), and FREE for students (with valid school ID). IPC has graciously underwritten student registration costs! Lunch is included in the conference fee.


Regiser online here: 


Registration will remain open through the day of the conference, with on-site registration (using the online form) available, but we encourage registration before February 10 to assist planning and insure lunch preferences are honored.


** Please indicate when you register for the conference whether you are planning to attend our Thursday hike and social happy hour and whether you would like a vegetarian lunch option Friday.**

We hope to see you there!
Visit our web-site for more information.





WHAT: The first-ever WEED WRANGLE NASHVILLE, a one-day, citywide, volunteer effort to help rescue our public parks and green spaces from invasive species through hands-on removal of especially harmful trees, vines and flowering plants. These include bush honeysuckle, Chinese privet, autumn olive, English ivy and winter creeper.


WHEN: Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 9 a.m. to Noon


WHERE: Ten public parks and other public-accessible spaces across Nashville, including Beaman Park/Bells Bend; Nashville Zoo at Grassmere; Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary; Radnor Lake State Natural Area; Shelby Bottoms Greenways and Nature Park; and

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. The other targeted areas, with exact locations TBD, are under the oversight of Cumberland River Compact; Friends of Warner Parks; Greenways for Nashville; and the Richland Creek Watershed Association.


WHY: Invasive/exotic plants and the pests associated with them degrade woodlands, threaten wildlife habitat, increase the risk of wildfire and alter the appearance of public spaces, including those set aside for the enjoyment and recreation of all Nashville residents. Without decisive intervention, these plants, insects and other non-native intruders will continue to adversely impact our city's ecosystem resources and services.


HOW:Funding for Weed Wrangle Nashville is provided by The Garden Club of America and by The Garden Club of Nashville, whose mission is to promote interest in gardens, their design, culture and management and to cooperate in the protection of wild flowers, native plants, trees and birds.


RELATED EVENT: During the week preceding Weed Wrangle Nashville, several related events will take place around Nashville, including a free community lecture at Belmont University offered to educate the public about invasive plants and species. There will also be a full day workshop held by the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council (TNEPPC) at Cheekwood for interested parties. The TNEPPC annual conference is open to the public and registration is available at or


MORE INFO: Please visit or contact with questions.



Featured Non-native Invasive Plant
Pyrus calleryana Dcne.
Bradford Pear, Callery Pear

Callery pear is ranked as an alert species by TN-EPPC but may be elevated as our list is re-evaluated. 
Callery pear is widely grown in as an ornamental tree and is still being sold for planting in landscapes


Callery Pear grows to 40 feet (12.2 m).



Callery pear trees have scaly gray-brown bark and branches with numerous short lateral twigs.



Twigs are reddish-brown to gray and stout, with relatively large, fuzzy, light tan-gray terminal buds on the spur shoots and branch tips.



The leaves are alternate, simple, 2 to 3 inches (5.1-7.6 cm) long, petiolate and shiny with wavy, slightly-toothed margins.



Flowering occurs early in the spring (April to May) before the leaves emerge. The showy white flowers are 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and malodorous.


Fruits are round, 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) in diameter, and green to brown in color.


Life History

Callery pear, or Bradford pear, is an ornamental, deciduous tree that is a member of the Rosaceae Family. Bradford was not self-pollinating and thus no fruit or seeds were produced. However, with time other callery pear cultivars were developed and introduced into the nursery trade. With several cultivars in circulation, cross-pollination could take place and the trees began to produce fruits and seeds. Pyrus is the Latin name for pear; calleryana is named after J. Callery, a French missionary to China who collected the original tree and brought it to the Western World.

Callery Pear is similar to the common European pear, Pyrus communis, but can be distinguished by its large thorns, which are usually present, and by its smaller fruits with the calyx absent on the fruit. Pyrus communis may or may not have thorns present. The fruits are larger than those of Callery Pear, and the calyx is persistent on the fruit.



Some non-sterile cultivars of this species have escaped and are invading natural areas throughout the eastern United States. Callery Pear trees are shallow-rooted and will tolerate most soil types including clay and alkaline, are pest-and pollution-resistant, and tolerate soil compaction, drought and wet soil well.


Origin and Distribution


Callery pear is native to China. In 1918 seed was brought to the United States for potential use as rootstock for cultivated pears. The "Bradford" variety of pear, which produced sterile fruits, has been widely planted throughout the United States since the early 1900s, but recent cultivars, bred to reduce the tendency of the tree to split in snow or high winds, have produced viable seeds and escaped to invade disturbed areas. The spread of callery pear is by seed, apparently dispersed by birds, and perhaps also small mammals, that consume the small hard fruits and excrete the seeds when they defecate. Other States Where Invasive: AL, GA, SC, TN.


Rhoads, A. F. and T. A. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania, An Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.


Management recommendations and photos can be found on our website.


Native  Plant Corner
By Mike Berkley

Who knew that the tree touted as the greatest since the introduction of the crape myrtle would attempt to take over the south? I remember when every garden center sold Bradford pear trees. They had great symmetry with "candelabra branching", beautiful fall color, and early white blooms. Pyrus calleryana cultivars were here to stay. Boy, did they stay! Now, there's hardly an open field in Tennessee where the seedlings have not popped up. They were supposed to be sterile. However, the crossing that seemed to occur with the edible pear trees produced small viable fruit. Although they are not good for human consumption the birds do love them. Now they're spreading everywhere a bird will land...and deposit. Due to their invasive nature, native tree species should be selected to replace them in the urban/suburban landscape.

There are many native trees I would consider instead of planting more problem pears, with the same white blooms and rich fall color. However, my very favorite is the serviceberry.

Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) naturally occurs in Tennessee from the Western Highland Rim eastward. There are four species in the state: Common or Downy Serviceberry (A. arborea), Smooth Serviceberry (A. laevis), Canadian Serviceberry (A. Canadensis), and the very rare Red Serviceberry (A. sanguinea). In the early spring, clouds of white blooms appear under the tall hardwoods of our deciduous forests. The blooms resemble clouds because of the growth habit of Downy Serviceberry - horizontal when growing in shade. Since Amelanchiers occur as mid-story trees (15-20 ft.) in nature, they perform well under bigger trees in the residential landscape. And they grow in shade OR sun. A serviceberry growing in sun will be more upright with more blooms, which turn into more berries.

If you ever get the chance to eat a berry, it's a treat. Serviceberries taste almost like a spicy blueberry. They make great pies. Red berries occur in the early summer when not many other trees have red fruit. This is a tree used most often in edible landscaping in urban-suburbia due to its size and production. I've installed many "serviceberry orchards" where anywhere from three to five trees were used in very small areas. Remember, it's a small tree. By mixing different species or different varieties the production increases.

The Smooth Serviceberry and the Canadian Serviceberry are excellent cross-pollinators. In fact, the most popular varieties are hybrids. These are called Apple Serviceberries Amelanchier x grandiflora. They are typically crosses of A. arborea and A. laevis. Some of the favorite cultivars are: "Cole's Select", "Forest Prince", "Princess Diana", and "Autumn Brilliance". The latter is of course known for its beautiful dark red fall color as well. Although the Canadian Serviceberry does produce some fruit it is not as heavy as the other species. It also tends to be more shrubby under cultivation.

Remove a pear and replace it with a serviceberry and then...let's eat!

Invasive Plant Treatment at the Oak Ridge Reservation

By Jamie Herold


In 1942, the Department of Energy acquired land for the 'Secret City' as part of the Manhattan Project. Today, the Oak Ridge Reservation constitutes 33,481 acres, with nearly 85% covered in fairly unfragmented and undeveloped forests, grasslands and wetlands. These natural areas include many rare species and unique habitats that are protected for research and education, and have thus been designated as a National Environmental Research Park, International Biosphere Reserve, and Tennessee Wildlife Management Areas. Nestled within these natural areas are multiple research campuses and sites aimed to meet the Department of Energy's mission goals and objectives. This makes the Oak Ridge Reservation a prime example of managing invasive species in areas with multiple land-use needs, and requires the cooperation of various organizations and contractors.


The "Invasive Plant Management Plan for the Oak Ridge Reservation" was finalized 10 years ago. Invasive species control has increased dramatically since this time, from 98 acres treated in 2003, to 950 acres this past year. The plan emphasizes an ecosystem based land-use management program to monitor and treat invasive plants. Treatment efforts focus on those species that pose the greatest threats to native species or DOE mission operations. Of the 54 aggressive non-native plant species on the Reservation, 18 have been identified as the most problematic. Top offenders include Japanese grass (Microstegium vimineum), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), kudzu (Pueraria montana), autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei). Emphasis is also placed on those infestations that are most feasible to contain or eliminate (e.g. new, small populations), as well as potential dispersal routes (e.g. roadways). In addition to the removal of invasive species, the management plan also calls for the quick revegetation of disturbed areas with desirable species, and the use of native landscaping on campus in order to help minimize the opportunity for invasive plant establishment.

State Park License Plate Fund Battles Exotics


By John Froeschauer


For the past 20 years, receipts from sale of the Tennessee Environmental State Parks License Plate have helped state parks and natural areas in the areas of beautification, habitat enhancement, and ecological restoration. Beginning in 1993, the "iris fund" was originally earmarked for "planting of native trees and shrubs and the maintenance thereof." After a few years of traditional landscaping of state park facilities and grounds and conversion of formerly mowed areas to native warm season grasses, the scope was broadened to include invasive plant removal.


In some 35 parks and natural areas, the iris fund has made possible the removal of an inestimable amount of acreage of invasive plants by contract, park staff, and volunteers. More is probably spent now on exotic plant removal and habitat restoration, mostly due to larger-sized areas requiring treatment, however, beautification projects continue. Most recently, it has enabled chemical treatment, mostly preemptive, of Eastern Hemlock trees for Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in 12 parks and natural areas, and through a contract with UT Knoxville's Lindsay Young Beneficial Insects Laboratory, rearing of 3 species of predator beetle. These have been released in 7 state parks and natural areas, including 5 sites along the Cumberland Trail and 16 sites around Frozen Head State Park. The iris fund has also helped pay for several printings of the TN-EPPC Native Landscaping Brochure.


The state park license plate bearing the native Dwarf-crested Iris will soon be complimented with a tag bearing a rustic gorge and waterfall scene which will hopefully boost sales for this productive program.


For more information about the program, contact John Froeschauer at



January 24, 2015

Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones 

 4th Annual Native Plant Symposium:  The Living Landscape 

with Doug Tallamy, Rita Venable and more


February 7, 2015

TN-EPPC Memphis Community Workshop, Memphis Botanical Garden

More information will be posted soon on our website: 


February 25, 2015

Belmont University (Opening Event at 4:00 PM)
Introduction to Invasive Species in Tennessee
Forming a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area to combat invasive in Tennessee
Guest Speaker: Steve Manning, Invasive Plant Control Inc. Free event open to the public.


February 26

In conjunction with the TN-EPPC conference, Invasive Plant Control (IPC), Inc. is hosting a hike of the Warner Parks' Hill property, an urban old-growth forest, now a state natural area. A social with light hors d'oeuvres and drinks, provided by IPC, Inc. will follow. Hike will begin at 4pm, social will follow from 5-7pm. Directions and a map for the IPC hike and social are available here.
Registration for this and event below can be found through the TN-EPPC website

February 27, 2015

TN-EPPC at Twenty: A Look Back, A Vision Forward

We had to postpone our conference due to low registration numbers. We are hoping for a better turn-out at a less busy time of year. We will still have the same keynote speaker, Dr. Dan Simberloff, and a similar focus. More details to follow. Registration will open in October. We hope to see you there! 


February 28, 2015 (from 9 a.m. to Noon)

Weed Wrangle - Nashville, TN 



Membership in TN-EPPC is open to anyone with an interest in the problem of invasive exotic plants, their identification, impacts, and control. Our members include professional land managers, private landowners, individual homeowners, public and private recreation areas, educational institutions, conservation and gardening organizations, and government agencies. Join us by becoming a member online, payment through PayPal.
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Feel free to contact any TNEPPC Board Member with questions or comments about invasive, nonnative plants.  Our contact information can be found on our website.  We'd love to hear from you!


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