ParkTalk Podcast

S31 Episode 02: Invaders in our Natural Areas

Two Naperville Park District staff members explain what invasive trees and shrubs are and why it's important to remove them from natural areas to promote a healthy ecosystem.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series, click here.

 Peggy Motta and Jesse Barr

Quotes from the episode:  
“They (Bradford pear trees) go in and take over any open area and nothing else can grow. They do not allow native species to grow; they don't allow diversity.” – Peggy Motta  

“Knoch Knolls Park has several areas of high-quality native woodland. A Norway maple is a species that is planted in people's yards, and that will take over a woodland. They do it by out-competing native species and don't let anything else grow. There are areas of the woods at Knoch Knolls Park at this time of year that are unbelievably beautiful, because the whole canopy and the whole forest floor are all Norway maple and they all go yellow to orange up above you and below you at the same time. But if you are really paying attention, that's the only thing that's growing.” – Jesse Barr

“Our squirrels, our native animals rely on a diverse diet to be healthy and survive. If we have only Bradford pears or Norway maples, our native animals will not be able to flourish and survive.” – Peggy Motta

Knoch Knolls Park woods – area where Norway maple dominates

What can homeowners do to help prevent the spread of invasive species in our natural areas?
“Plant native shrubs and trees. They are much easier to take care of.” – Jesse Barr
“And they live a long time. With natives, you might have to wait a little longer for the tree to grow, but it's much more beautiful and supports bees and native animals and so much more.” – Peggy Motta
Swamp white oak on the Riverwalk in November

Planting native plants and trees to plant at home
•    Tree List from Lake County Forest Preserve District
•    Tree list from The Morton Arboretum
•    Planting tips from the Missouri Botanical Gardens  
Common invasive species to avoid  
•    From The Morton Arboretum
•    From Lake County Forest Preserve District  (with the statistic that Lake County's tree canopy is 50% buckthorn)
Experiment in germinating long-buried seeds:
•    NPR report
•    New York Times article
Podcast with Dr. Doug Tallamy on the amazing oak tree