MoIP Vision: Missouri is committed to reducing the impact of invasive plants through early detection and control.
MoIP Mission: To benefit Missouri, MoIP advances efforts to reduce the impact of invasive plants.
Welcome to the first issue of State of Invasives—the quarterly enewsletter of the Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP). Thank you for subscribing.

State of Invasives aims to:
Provide useful information to you/the leaders of your organization, agency, or business to help you recognize and control invasive plants and reduce their negative impacts, introduce you to our work, explain the challenges of invasive plants, and make the case for bold action and how this will benefit Missouri and Missourians. 
Share talking points that you can use when communicating about invasive plant detection and control within your agency, business, or organization, and to your customers or stakeholders. 
• Empower you and your audiences to recognize invasive plants and take action—around your office building, behind your parking lot, on your back 40, right of way, back yard, around your crop field, or on any other land you or your group owns or manages.

We hope our information below is helpful, and we’d like to hear from you. What questions or ideas do you have? Would you like to share the invasive plant action you or your organization or business are taking with us? If so, contact us at [email protected].

In this issue:
—What is MoIP?
—Invasive Plant ID & Control Resources
—Call for Nominations for 2023 MoIP Invasive Plant Action Awards 
—2023 Callery Pear Buyback Event: Register by April 13
—May 10: Invasive Plant Webinar with Valarie (Repp) Kurre
—MoIP’s Cease-the-Sale Idea: Your Invitation to Provide Feedback
—Missourians Making a Difference: Interview with Andrew Turner
—Invasives to Treat in Spring: garlic mustard, bull & musk thistles, multiflora rose, sweet clover

Thank you for your interest in taking action to control invasive plants!

Carol Davit, MoIP Chair
Matt Arndt, MoIP Vice Chair
What is MoIP?
green and brown logo shield of Missouri Invasive Plant Council with a map of Missouri in the middle and spray bottle and clippers
In 2015, Grow Native!, the native plant education and marketing program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, spearheaded the formation of MoIP—a multi-agency, multi-industry networking and advocacy group to bolster statewide efforts to identify and control the invasive plant species that severely impact several sectors of the Missouri economy and native biodiversity. The purpose of MoIP—working as a united, supportive front—is to review, discuss, and recommend educational and regulatory action related to managing known and potential non-­native invasive plants. Representatives from the fields of conservation, agriculture, botanical science, ecological restoration, transportation, horticulture, landscape services and design, and forestry make up the council membership, volunteering their time at quarterly meetings and small work groups. MoIP associates help disseminate MoIP information to various groups. Emily Render works on contract to coordinate MoIP activities.

Last year, MoIP completed a framework for our work for the next five years—the MoIP Strategic Plan for 2022-2026—which includes reaching out to individual citizens and organizations, businesses, and agencies to increase awareness about and action to identify and control invasive plants. 

Learn more about MoIP at
MoIP Invasive Plant ID & Control Resources
The Resources tab at provides an extensive library of identification and control resources that are quickly searchable for swift access. You’ll find fact sheets, videos, top 15 lists of expanding invasives, and much more. Within “Resources,” the “Top Invasive Plants in Missouri page includes top invasive plants by region, with lists, photos, and links to control information for each species on the lists.

Data for the top invasives resources originate from the MoIP Invasive Plant Assessment, a comprehensive assessment of 142 known and potential invasive plants in Missouri. For each species, accompanying maps illustrate abundance, impact, and trend. Land managers and planners can use the assessment, and top invasives lists, to prioritize invasive plant action. provides many other resources. Explore and use them! We’ll highlight other features in forthcoming enewsletter issues.

Pictured above are the top eight expanding invasives in Missouri, from See all 25 for the state, and regional lists, here.
Call for MoIP Invasive Plant Action Award Nominations
Steve Cavin wearing a long sleeved light blue work shirt St Louis Cardinals cap and glasses
MoIP established the Invasive Plant Action Award program to recognize the outstanding work being done in Missouri to control invasive plant species. This award program celebrates exceptional effort and leadership in the field, and also serves to demonstrate to the broader community how controlling the spread of invasive plants on Missouri farms, forests, woodlands, prairies, gardens, parks, neighborhoods, roadsides, and along waterways is very possible and very important land stewardship.

Members of the MoIP Council evaluate nominations and select winners annually. The award program has four categories: Individual Citizen or Individual Organization; Individual Professional; Group Collaborators; and Researchers.

The nomination deadline is June 15, 2023. Find details and a nomination form here

Pictured above is Steve Cavin, Senior Ecological Specialist for Native Landscape Solutions, Inc., who received the MoIP Professional Invasive Plant Action Award in 2022. Upon accepting his award at the Missouri Natural Resources Conference MoIP Workshop in February 2023, Steve offered concise invasive plant control advice: “Keep your tools sharp.”
April 18: MoIP Callery Pear Buyback Event
llage of callery pears being cut down for previous buyback events and the words callery pear buyback 2023
Callery pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) include 26 cultivars (including Cleveland and Bradford pear) that present significant ecological concerns in Missouri when fertile seeds, thanks to cross-pollination among cultivars, are spread by birds and the trees become invasive.

MoIP has organized a Callery Pear "Buyback" event in St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Joplin, Springfield, Lebanon, Hannibal, Poplar Bluff, and Columbia, MO on April 18, in partnership with Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, Forrest Keeling Nursery, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), and Deep Roots Kansas City (with locations in Kansas City and Kansas).

Register here for the Buyback event by April 13. Through this program, take a photo of your cut-down Callery pear tree and bring it to an event site to redeem a free, native replacement tree donated by Forest ReLeaf and Forrest Keeling Nursery, in 3-gallon containers that are between 4- and 5-feet tall. 

Find information on invasive Callery pear identification, and control information here.
graphic with details on May 10 webinar including speaker name Valarie Kurre Repp her bio and a short description of webinar
May 10: MPF Webinar: Invasive Plant ID and Control Methods
On May 10, the Missouri Prairie Foundation (which administers MoIP) will offer a free webinar with Valerie (Repp) Kurre, Coordinator of the Scenic Rivers Invasive Species Partnership (SRISP), and MoIP Council member, presenting on some of the most common invasive plants that can be found across the state, how to distinguish them from other plants, and what control strategies can be used on them. The fundamentals of integrative pest management (IPM) will be discussed to give attendees the most options for controlling invasive species.

When: Wednesday, May 10 at 4:00 p.m. Free. Register here.
This approximately 40-minute webinar will be followed by a question-and-answer period. A link to a recording of the webinar will be sent to all registrants.
MoIP’s Cease-the-Sale Idea: Your Invitation to Provide Feedback
To help prevent any more invasive plant challenges on the landscape, the Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP) has put forth the idea of ceasing the sale of some invasive plants via state legislation that would ban their sale, propagation, and intentional distribution.

MoIP seeks input on this idea from people across the state and across industries so that MoIP’s eventual proposal can be as well informed and collaborative as possible. MoIP wishes to work with stakeholders from many sectors, including agriculture, conservation, horticulture, academia, and utilities to find common ground on what's best for the future of Missouri. 

MoIP invites your input on your level of support (or lack thereof) for inclusion of any of these species in a future cease-the-sale effort in Missouri. If you wish to provide feedback, do so by the deadline of May 31, 2023, using this link and following the directions. Questions? Contact MoIP contract coordinator Emily Render at [email protected].

Missourians Making a Difference: Interview with Andrew Turner
Throughout Missouri there are many individuals making significant progress in the early detection and control of invasive plants. The Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP) is pleased to highlight their work! 

Andrew Turner, Southeast District Roadside Manager, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), and MoIP Council member, took time out of his busy schedule to describe his invasive plant control work. Enjoy!

—Carol Davit, MoIP Chair

Please give us a summary of the invasive plant control work you are overseeing in southeastern Missouri. Who is involved? 
The Invasive Species Strike Team is a first-of-its-kind pilot project to show that a dedicated crew using specialized equipment can efficiently, effectively, and economically control invasive plants along roadsides in southeastern Missouri. The project is a joint partnership between MoDOT’s Southeast District, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Missouri Prairie Foundation. We operate two crews consisting of four people each operating custom sprayers. Crews are strategically located on the east and west sides of the district to effectively cover the 25-county region.
How did you choose the routes to treat? 
We focus on major four-lane routes in the MoDOT Southeast District. These routes were prioritized because they have larger, well-established populations of our target species. By taking out the larger seed sources, we can more effectively control the spread onto the secondary routes. These secondary routes more often lead to more ecologically intact and sensitive habitats, agricultural lands, and priority natural communities that need to be protected from invasive species. We utilize a scout-and-spray method to more effectively, efficiently, and economically cover as much area as possible.

Since you began this work along state highway rights of way, how many acres or miles have you covered? 
Since the Invasive Species Strike Team began operating in September 2020, the crews have monitored over 30,000 acres, treated over 3,000 miles, and physically sprayed over 8,000 acres.
What are the most common invasive plants you and your crews are encountering, and how do you treat them? 
We commonly find common and cut-leaf teasel, spotted knapweed, Johnson grass, serecia lespedeza, and Japanese honeysuckle. Since starting this spraying effort, we have also expanded our target list to include crown vetch, sweet clover, Japanese stilt grass, perilla mint, bush honeysuckle, autumn olive, and Callery pear. We treat them by using a scout-and-spray approach. This method allows us to be more effective and treat a larger geographical area.
What equipment do you use? 
We use four Can Am Defender 6x6 UTVs outfitted with custom injection sprayers. The custom injection sprayers allow us to carry and apply three separate, very selective herbicides. This capability allows us to selectively spray most species we come across in a single pass. Read more
Invasives to Treat in Spring
The outdoors is greening up! Unfortunately, many plants that are leafing out are invasives that threaten native biodiversity, impact working lands, and cause problems for private and public landowners.

Not all invasive plants are most effectively treated at the same time of year. Here, we highlight several species to treat in spring, in addition to Callery pears, which are clearly visible in April with their blooms. You can find treatment guidelines for many invasive plants at Note: Treatment methods may differ considerably if invasives are found in otherwise intact, highly biologically diverse areas or in disturbed areas/altered landscapes.
Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) is medium-sized, thorny shrub with a spreading growth form, often forming thickets, that blooms in May-June. Look for the fringed leaf bases, as shown in the inset photo above, to distinguish this plant from other roses. Light infestations may be removed by pulling plants, if all roots are removed. Prescribed burning in fire-adapted communities controls invasion. Three to six cuttings/ mowings a year can achieve high plant mortality. Cutting stems and either painting 10-20% glyphosate on the stump with a sponge applicator or spraying herbicide on the stump with a low-pressure hand-held sprayer kills root systems and prevents re-sprouting. With this technique, herbicide is applied specifically to the target plant, reducing the possibilities of damaging nearby, desirable vegetation. Read more in this Missouri Department of Conservation Multiflora Rose Fact Sheet.
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an herbaceous, biennial, forest understory invader. Its first year is spent as a rosette with kidney-shaped leaves with scalloped edges. Second-year plants produce 1-10 stems, and have alternate,
triangular leaves with sharply toothed edges. When plants are 2-4 feet high, they produce small white flowers May-June, after which seed pods form. One plant can produce hundreds to thousands of seeds. Hand-pulling small populations can be an effective option if performed before seed dispersal. Cutting the plants in their second year, after stems have bolted, but before budding, is an alternative but must be done each year until the seedbank has been exhausted. Stems should be bagged and disposed of properly as they can continue to seed even after cutting. Herbicide application of 2% glyphosate can be applied to individual plants in fall or early spring, when native plants are dormant. Read more in this Missouri Department of Conservation Garlic Mustard Fact Sheet.
Musk (Carduus nutans; pictured above) and bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) are both biennial, herbaceous grassland invaders that form a rosette in their first year and flowering stalks in their second. Both have coarsely toothed, spiny leaves, but bull thistle has a spine on each leaf tip. Like all other non-native thistles, the underside of their leaves are green. Musk thistle flowering stalks typically end in a single, nodding flower, with numerous spine-tipped bracts. Bull thistle flowering stalks can end in either small clumps or single flower heads. Both species can flower May-October. Methods of control for both species in high quality habitat include hand-cutting or mowing in the second year, prior to flowering. Chemical control is most effective in the rosette stage for both species. This U.S. Forest Service fact sheet lists chemical control options for musk thistle; these and all herbicides should only be applied according to label directions. Additional treatment options can also be found on this University of Wisconsin fact sheet. Note: native thistles bloom in late summer and their leaves are white underneath (except for the native swamp thistle, the leaves of which are green underneath); they are beneficial to many insects and birds.
White (Melilotus albus) and yellow sweet clover (M. officinalis) are biennial with flowers crowded densely on the top 4 inches of an elongated stem, with younger flowers emerging nearest the tip. They bloom May through October. Sweet clovers have been cultivated as a forage crop, soil builder, and nectar source for honeybees.
Hand-pulling is effective for light infestations when the ground is moist and most of the root can be removed. Large colonies can be cut close to the ground. Prescribed burning in April, and a May burn the following year can be effective. In degraded areas, aminopyralid (Milestone) herbicide (0.5%) can be applied with a wick applicator when the clover is taller than desirable vegetation. Read more in this Missouri Department of Conservation Sweet Clover Fact Sheet and this Missouri Prairie Foundation table.

Photos courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation
Newsletter content ownership: Missouri Prairie Foundation.

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Carol Davit
MoIP Chair & Missouri Prairie Foundation Executive Director
Missouri Prairie Foundation
PO Box 200
Columbia, MO 65205
(888) 843-6739