The Great Outdoors

The “Bad Guys” In Your Garden & What To Do About Them

In the picturesque landscapes of Indiana, a battle is underway, not against a visible enemy but against an insidious threat to the natural environment—the spread of invasive plant species. These plants, often beautiful, like the ornamental pear, pose significant ecological challenges, disrupting local ecosystems and displacing native flora. Addressing this urgent issue, the Northeast Indiana chapter of the Indiana Native Plant Society (INPS-NE), in partnership with EcoFest Fort Wayne, is hosting an educational workshop aimed at equipping locals with the knowledge to combat these botanical invaders.

Last October, NE INPS members spent a cool fall afternoon collecting spotted Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum), tall ironweed (Vernonia gigantea), and woolgrass (Scirpus cyperinus) seeds with Blue Heron Ministries staff in Angola.

Scheduled for Sunday, April 28, from 3:15 to 4:45 pm at the Allen County Public Library’s Main Branch in Fort Wayne, the workshop will be spearheaded by Freya Berntson, the Stewardship Chair of INPS-NE. Berntson, an expert in native plant conservation, will discuss the characteristics that define invasive plants and their detrimental impact on Indiana’s habitats.

The term “invasive” is used for non-native plants that establish, proliferate, and spread aggressively. These species can transform ecosystems, leading to reduced biodiversity and disrupted soil health, and even impairing forest regeneration. The workshop aims to arm participants with the skills to identify these plants and understand the steps they can take to manage and prevent their spread in their gardens and community spaces.

During the workshop, Berntson will provide insights into how individuals can make a tangible impact. She will cover methods for identifying potential invasive species, the best practices for their removal, and ethical disposal techniques. Furthermore, she will offer guidance on selecting native plants for landscaping projects that not only prevent the spread of invasives but also support local wildlife and maintain ecological balance.

The event is free, yet pre-registration is required due to space limitations, and attendees are encouraged to pre-register online to ensure a spot. In a bid to promote the planting of native species, participants will receive handouts and native seed packets, which serve as a practical takeaway to encourage the growth of local flora. To register for this informative workshop, please visit

The workshop not only serves as an educational platform but also as a call to action for the community to actively participate in ecological stewardship. By learning about invasive species and their effects, residents of Northeast Indiana can contribute to preserving the region’s biodiversity, ensuring that its natural beauty and ecological integrity are maintained for future generations.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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