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Will problems with invasives never end?

To answer the question I asked in the title of this column, “No, probably not.” It is frustrating and exhausting to discover that a shrub or perennial that you recently saw at the garden center and want to plant in that perfect spot in your yard is an exotic that doesn’t support pollinators or is on the invasive list for 29 states and creeping ever closer to the Middle Peninsula.

Besides our longtime nemesis, English ivy (Hedera helix), we are facing minor invasions in our woods by autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) and Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense). I suspect these won’t be minor invasions for long. Both plants are listed as demonstrating “high levels of invasiveness” on the Virginia Invasive Plant Species List.

Autumn olive, native to Japan, China, and parts of eastern Asia, was introduced into the United States in the mid-19th century for planting as an ornamental and for wildlife food and habitat. It soon escaped into woods, grasslands, and disturbed areas, where it thr...

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