Woody Plant Removal
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County often removes aggressive native and nonnative shrub and tree species that are taking over high-quality woodlands, savannas and prairies. Selective clearing and brush mowing work has shown that native plants and also populations of birds and butterflies can recover once the weedy vegetation is removed.
Invasive shrubs, such as European buckthorn and honeysuckle, produce dense clumps of leaves that sprout earlier in the spring and drop later in the fall than those of native plants. Their impenetrable vegetation keeps sun and water from reaching the ferns, wildflowers, and oak and hickory seedlings that grow below. As a result, the variety of plants and animals that live there declines.
Selective clearing is typically done in woodlands and savannas and involves crews cutting down individually selected invasive trees and shrubs and burn the resulting brush piles on site. They then carefully apply herbicides to the cut stumps so the plants cannot grow back. Work is done during winter to protect any dormant plants below the soil. The sparse vegetation at this time of year also lowers any risk of fire hazards from the brush piles.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County often removes aggressive native and nonnative shrub species that are taking over high-quality prairies.
Invasive shrubs, such as gray dogwood and European buckthorn, shade sub-loving prairie plants and make the area less desirable to birds that nest in grassland habitats.
Brush mowing involves cutting shorter woody growth down using a heavy-duty mower. This work is typically done in fall, winter and spring to minimize impacts to native plants.