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MoIP green and tan logo that reads, Missouri Native Plant Council
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.

Fall 2023

bush honeysuckle with yellow green leaves and red berries

Happy fall, and welcome to the third issue of State of Invasives—the quarterly enewsletter of the Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP). Thank you for subscribing.

Autumn is an ideal time to control invasive, non-native bush honeysuckle (Lonicera mackii and other non-native Lonicera species) and a number of other invasives. Scroll below for details on treatment instructions for this widespread invasive shrub and three other invasive plants to control in fall. Below, you will also find information on upcoming honeysuckle control events around the state.

New as of last week! We have produced a 21-minute video to help landowners identify and treat invasive plants on their property—see the link below.

We hope you enjoy our news in this issue, and, as always, please let us know your invasive plant-related questions, ideas, or concerns.

New MoIP Video: A Landowner Tour

MoIP 2023 Invasive Plant Action Award Winners

—St. Louis and Kansas City Area Fall Honeysuckle Control Events

—Eastern Missouri Invasive Strike Team

—MoIP’s Cease-the-Sale Idea: Support from Representative Bruce Sassmann and Missouri Department of Agriculture

—Missourians Making a Difference: Interview with Linda Lehrbaum

—Invasives to treat in fall: bush honeysuckle, privet, tall fescue, wintercreeper

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

Carol Davit, MoIP Chair

Matt Arndt, MoIP Vice Chair

Pictured above is bush honeysuckle (Lonicera mackii). Photo by Alan Branhagen

New MoIP Video:

A Landowner Tour: Controlling Invasives

Identifying and controlling invasive plants on acreages large and small can be daunting. That is why the Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP), administered by the Missouri Prairie Foundation, created a new video geared to help landowners.

Join central Missouri landowner Jane Haslag on a tour of her 15 acres of woods and grassland in central Missouri with MPF Director of Prairie Management Jerod Huebner. The two identify and discuss treatment of several common invasive plants, as well as share information about prescribed fire, mowing, and other landscape management practices. In the video, Jerod also offers practical advice on several plants that can pop up during the early stages of land restoration that are no cause for alarm. Watch the 1-minute teaser here and the full 21-minute video here.

Many thanks to the Richard King Mellon Foundation for providing funding for this video production.

MoIP 2023 Invasive Plant Action Award Winners

The MoIP Invasive Plant Action Awards recognize exceptional effort and leadership in the field, and also serve as a way 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 attainable and very important land stewardship. Congratulations to both awardees!

Principia School of St. Louis is the winner in the Individual Organization category, awarded to an organization with outstanding contributions to the long-term management of invasive plant species and working to control the spread of invasive plants.

Principia School is a longstanding independent school for infants through high school seniors. In 2014, Principia began incorporating outdoor learning spaces into its curricula. In this process, the school cleared bush honeysuckle and autumn olive, involving students in the removal and control of these invasive plants.

In 2015, Principia cleared a 16-acre area of honeysuckle. Read more here.

Dale Dufer of St. Louis is the winner in the Individual Citizen category, awarded to an individual citizen for outstanding work to fight the spread of invasive plants.

Dale is the mastermind behind the bush honeysuckle awareness project called Think About Tables, which he started in 2014. Nearly ten years later, Think About Tables has led to bi-annual collaborations and the development of school curricula for the removal of honeysuckle, as well as increased awareness of both this invasive plant and how essential native plants are.

He even went as far as to put Bush Honeysuckle on “trial” on April 4, 2018, which launched an Invasive Species Mock Trial Curriculum in 2019. Read more here.

Photo by Jean Ponzi

Fall Honeysuckle Events in Kansas City and St. Louis

Controlling bush honeysuckle can be a lot more fun in a group! Organizations in the Kansas City and the St. Louis areas have organized numerous honeysuckle control events this fall. Use the links below to register.

Kansas City WildLands:

-Nov. 4 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon

Jerry Smith Prairie. Register here

-Nov. 16 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Bluebell Valley (near Lee's Summit). Register here


Honeysuckle Sweep: Several organizations have organized many "honeysuckle sweep" events in November and December in the St. Louis area. Register here.

Many Missouri Stream Teams across Missouri also organize honeysuckle removal events. Check their calendar of events here.

Volunteers at a honeysuckle workday at Jerry Smith Park in Kansas City.

Eastern Missouri Habitat Specialist Crew

The Missouri Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever (PFQF) Habitat Specialist Crew, stationed at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, was organized as a result of a collaborative effort to coordinate and conduct wildlife habitat management practices on cooperating lands in east-central Missouri.

The four-person PFQF Habitat Specialist Crew is supported through a partnership between the Missouri Department of Conservation, Shaw Nature Reserve, and Quail Forever, and by generous donations from Nestlé Purina, Steve & Jeanne Maritz, and Roeslein Alternative Energy.

Established in late 2021, the PFQF Habitat Specialist Crew has been enhancing native habitat on both public and private lands in a 75-mile radius of Shaw Nature Reserve in Missouri with stewardship services including prescribed burning, burn plan development, establishment of firebreaks, woodland management (e.g., timber stand improvement, cedar removal, woody plant control in grasslands), invasive plant control,

site preparation prior to establishing native plantings, and seeding native plants.

To date in 2023, the PFQF Habitat Specialist Crew has completed 893 acres of invasive species treatment. This includes invasive plant control for 15 private landowners as well as work at Anderson Memorial Conservation Area, Engelmann Woods Natural Area, Huzzah Conservation Area, and Shaw Nature Reserve. Treatments were conducted in Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, Warren, Washington, and St. Charles counties. Target species include sericea lespedeza, bush honeysuckle, Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese barberry, oriental bittersweet, autumn olive, multiflora rose, winter creeper, reed canary grass, Japanese stilt grass, linden viburnum, sweet pea, and sweet clover.

Currently, the PFQF Habitat Specialist Crew is also gearing up for the prescribed burn season. Working on public and private land across 10 counties in east-central Missouri, the crew will conduct about 40 prescribed fires this season starting this month and finishing up in late April. Some burns are carried out in conjunction with partner agencies implementing prescribed fires on public land, but the majority are conducted on private land. From small pollinator plantings to several hundred-acre burns, the crew takes an “every acre matters” approach and improves upland habitat one burn and invasive plant treatment at a time.

Photo above is of PFQF Habitat Specialist Crew member Phoebe Ellis spraying sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) and autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) in a remnant prairie in Warren County in summer 2023.

MoIP’s Cease-the-Sale Idea: Support from Department of Agriculture and Representative Sassmann

To help prevent further invasive plant challenges on the landscape, 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.

In late 2020 and early 2021, MoIP invited input on this idea from more than 90 groups in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, and conservation. From the input received—from 23 of those 90+ groups—MoIP developed three lists: one list of plant species for which there was strong organizational support for ceasing their sale, a second list of plant species for which there was strong organizational opposition for ceasing their sale, and a third list of plant species needing additional input.

In April 2023, MoIP invited members of the 90+ groups, as well as any member of the public, to provide input on this third list. A total of 84 people responded by the extended deadline of June 15, 2023.

Over the summer, MoIP—thanks especially to the hard work of Vice Chair Matt Arndt— calculated the top species currently sold that had the most support and least opposition expressed in stakeholder feedback of being included on the Cease-the-Sale list.

In July, Representative Bruce Sassmann, Chair of the Missouri House Natural Resources Committee, who has been interested in MoIP's work for several years, informed MoIP that the Missouri Department of Agriculture expressed support for the Cease-the-Sale concept with a limited number of species. MoIP is in the process of summarizing stakeholder feedback and supplying it to Representative Sassmann, who is drafting Cease-the-Sale legislation independent of, but with advice from, MoIP. The summary will rank species in order of support for inclusion in legislation, so lawmakers can understand stakeholder feedback. Watch for the summary, being finalized now, at the MoIP Cease the Sale webpage.

Missourians Making a Difference:

Interview with Linda Lehrbaum

Throughout Missouri there are many individuals making significant progress in the early detection and control of invasive plants. MoIP is pleased to highlight their work! 

Linda Lehrbaum, Program Manager of Kansas City WildLands, (pictured above, at far left) took time out of her busy schedule to describe her work. Enjoy!

—Carol Davit, MoIP Chair

How long have you been with Kansas City WildLands, and for those who are not familiar with the program, can you describe it?

I have been the program manager for Kansas City WildLands (KCWL), a program of the Kansas City region's environmental organization, Bridging The Gap, since 2002. Over the past 20+ years, I have been developing and growing KCWL’s work—with input and action from KCWL partners—into what this program is today.

Kansas City WildLands is an informal coalition of passionate partners from corporate, academic, government, parks, and nonprofit sectors working to "restore, protect, and conserve the remnants of Kansas City’s original landscape by involving people in the stewardship of the land." That's our mission, and has been our North Star from the beginning. Especially in an urban setting, you can neither succeed in conserving wild place health nor win the battle against invasives if you don't involve the people who live there. You need folks to realize what they could lose to invasive plants—wild places they may not have previously appreciated, but don't want to be without once they understand!

What is your professional background?

My academic background was diverse. I spent 3.5 years at the University of Missouri-Columbia studying animal science and pre-vet medicine, followed by 3.5 years getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Kansas City Art Institute with an emphasis in sculpture. I believe this diverse approach to higher education—intentional or not—actually helped me in this field ... a strong science-based education coupled with a formal approach to creativity was very helpful in coming up with a well-rounded perspective in battling with invasives and restoring our native wild places, especially when we need to get ALL people on board in the effort!

What are some of the invasive plant control projects you have led over the years? Why are they important? What has been the impact?

KCWL works on several different public remnant landscapes in the bi-state Kansas City region, and each is managed by different public park systems. Much of the work must involve those land managers, that is, burn bosses for controlled burns, and grounds crews for brush-hogging, mowing, and large-scale spraying. Much of the work, however, is initiated by KCWL's volunteers. We started with the manual removal of invasive plants, providing much of the labor-intensive work that most parks departments simply didn't have the understanding of or resources for, including spot spraying sericea lespedeza, cutting and stump treating acres of bush honeysuckle, pulling garlic mustard, and providing ample human-power for prescribed burns. 

Having so many partner organizations and hundreds of volunteers putting in the time and passion to removing invasive plants and conserving these remnant sites helps parks departments stay on top of the threat of invasive plants. Kansas City, Missouri Parks has started a Conservation Corps to battle invasive plants on their lands, and Johnson County, Kansas Parks has devoted huge resources to its natural resources, in great part due to the education and efforts of KCWL and its partners/volunteers. We have a long way to go in regaining our healthy native landscape sans invasives, but the commitment of parks departments is a big success!

Read more

Photo above of a KCWL volunteer work day by Matt Garrett. Linda is at the far left.

Invasives to Treat in Fall

Not all invasive plants are most effectively treated at the same time of year. Here, we highlight several species to treat in fall. 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, in disturbed areas/altered landscapes, or if invasives are found in or near water. When using chemicals to treat invasives, always read label instructions. In addition to the resources below, you may also find this table of invasive plant treatment methods for grasslands, from the Missouri Prairie Foundation, helpful.

Photos below by Alan Branhagen; Richard Gardner,; and Carol Davit

bush honeysuckle with yellow green leaves and red berries

Bush honeysuckles (Lonicera maackii and other non-native Lonicera shrub species) are large, upright shrubs reaching 15 to 20 feet tall at maturity. In early summer, white flowers will emerge and change to a pale yellow over time, producing bright red juicy berries in early fall. Leaves are opposite, 1 to 3 inches long, and narrowly oval with a pointed tip. The bark is grayish brow and tight with grooves that run vertically.

These shrubs spread through woodland communities, dominating the understory and shading out native herbaceous plants as well as native shrubs and native tree seedlings. The abundant red berries are readily consumed by migrating birds in the fall. They are high in carbohydrates but are lacking in fat, which is needed by birds that migrate long distances.

The recommended control varies depending on shrub size and density, as well as landscape type. Small plants can simply be pulled by hand, as they are shallow-rooted.

For larger plants, the method that may be especially desirable for yards or parks is to cut stems with loppers or a saw and then daub the cut stems with a 10% to 20% solution of glyphosate. No surfactant is needed when applying herbicide to cut stems/stumps.

For dense colonies (for example, in woodlands), the easiest treatment is usually foliar spraying with glyphosate. Bush honeysuckle holds its leaves for several weeks after the first frosts. Because frost causes most native species to go dormant, waiting until after a frost to foliar treat bush honeysuckle will minimize collateral damage to native plants. A 3% to 4% solution of glyphosate with ammonium sulfate and surfactant sprayed on the leaves at this time is very effective.

For foliar treatments, it is important to cover more than 60% of the leaves on the shrub to ensure adequate herbicide uptake into the plant. After treatment, the shrubs often appear to go dormant, but in spring the plant may leaf out partially before dying.

For more on control methods, including basal-bark treatment, consult this Missouri Department of Conservation bush honeysuckle fact sheet.

Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is a cool-season, non-native grass commonly seen in cattle pastures across the state. Tall fescue can escape from where planted and invade native prairies and other natural communities.

Leaves are coarse and 4 to 18 inches long, smooth on the underside, and usually rough on the upper surface. It is often one of the first grasses to green up in the spring, and in southern Missouri, it stays green all winter. The leaves are usually deep green and often appear glossy. Tall fescue spreads readily by seed and rhizomes and can produce toxic substances that are released into the soil that further aid in it outcompeting native plant species.

In addition, all fescue is often infected with an endophytic fungus that can cause illness in cattle and some wildlife.

The recommended control is through a foliar application of glyphosate with surfactant. Often multiple applications are necessary to eradicate an established stand. One quart of glyphosate per acre in the fall and two quarts of glyphosate per acre in the spring is recommended. For spot treatment of isolated tall fescue plants, use 1% to 2% of glyphosate with surfactant.

If native species are present, a fall/winter application with one quart of glyphosate per acre is effective after a frost. If spraying in the fall/winter, it is important to spray in a window of warmer weather with daytime temperatures around 50 degrees and nighttime temperatures above freezing so the plant will actively take in the herbicide. 

For more on tall fescue control methods, consult this tall fescue fact sheet from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Non-native privets (Ligustrum sp.) are multi-stemmed shrubs reaching up to 16 feet tall at maturity. Four species occur in Missouri.

Leaves are small, opposite, with smooth margins, and at nearly a right angle to the stem. The leaf surface is glossy on top and pale green underneath. Chinese privet has a hairy mid-vein on the lower surface while the European privet is hairless on the underside of the mid-vein. White flowers appear May to June and are abundant and fragrant. Fruits appear in late summer in clusters near the ends of branches. As the fruit ripens it turns from pale green to dark purple or nearly black.

Wildlife (primarily birds) consume the fruits, thereby spreading the seed and contributing to future invasions. Privet also spreads clonally through the roots. Dense stands often form near creeks, fence rows, and in the understory of woodlands. Leaves remain green for several weeks after the first fall frosts.

The recommended treatment is a foliar application of glyphosate after the first hard frost. A 3% to 4% rate of glyphosate with ammonium sulfate and surfactant is adequate for control, ensuring that herbicide covers most of the leaves on the shrub. It is not necessary to spray the leaves to the point of run-off.

Another method is to cut stems/trunks with loppers or a saw and then daub the cut stems with a 10% to 20% solution of glyphosate. No surfactant is needed when applying herbicide to cut stems/stumps.

Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) is a very aggressive, evergreen vine that spreads on the ground and can climb up trees, fences, and other vertical surfaces, and can become woody. Leaves are oval, deep green, and leathery. Wintercreeper tolerates nearly any growing condition except extremely wet conditions. Seed, contained in an orange capsule, is produced in early summer when the vines become aerial—or otherwise have access to sun.

This rapidly spreading vine completely smothers and eliminates native ground cover where it is established. Hand pulling is sometimes ineffective as it is hard to get all of the roots and is very time-consuming, especially on a large colony.

The recommended treatment for aerial vines is a cut-stump treatment. A solution of 20% glyphosate is adequate for control. Triclopyr products work equally well. Foliar treatment after a frost is also effective on wintercreeper ground cover. Thoroughly wetting all leaf surfaces with a 1.5% solution of glyphosate or Crossbow (a mixture of 2,4-D/Triclopyr) and surfactant has been found effective. 

Learn more about wintercreeper control methods in these resources from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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 the information in this enewsletter 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 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 guides MoIP's current work.

Learn more about MoIP and mind many invasive plant ID and control resources at

Newsletter content ownership: Missouri Prairie Foundation.

You are receiving this message because you a subscriber to this enewsletter, which provide news and information about invasives in Missouri and the actions the Missouri Invasive Plant Council and our partners around the state are taking to control and reduce the impact of invasive plants. You can play an important role in statewide efforts to control invasive plants by reading, learning, and sharing the information within this enewsletter with others who deal with vegetation management.

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Carol Davit

MoIP Chair & Missouri Prairie Foundation Executive Director

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