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Health, Science, Environment

UMSL Aims To Root Out Invasive Honeysuckle On Campus

UMSL plans to remove bush honeysuckle, pictured here, from seven acres on campus.
UMSL plans to remove bush honeysuckle, pictured here, from seven acres on campus.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is embarking on a long-term effort to remove invasive plants from forested areas on campus.

The university received funding from the Missouri Department of Conservation in November to restore a total of seven acres. With help from St. Louis-based contractor Native Landscape Solutions, UMSL plans to eradicate invasive bush honeysuckle and replace it with native plants.

Gregory Ward, UMSL grounds supervisor, calls the project a “big reset button.”

“We have a lot of natural areas on campus that have invasive plants that have just taken over due to lack of maintenance,” Ward said.

He estimates about 90 percent of undeveloped areas on campus are overgrown with honeysuckle and other invasive plants.  

The university plans to mechanically remove and mulch invasive plants, including bush honeysuckle and creeping Euonymus, from two regions on campus.

Ward estimates the brunt of the work will be removing the non-native plants, which often spread easily via seed and root cuttings.

The project will target two forested sites on the UMSL campus, highlighted in red.
Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

By mulching the invasive plants on-site, Ward said, the potential for spreading invasive honeysuckle is minimized.

In the first several years of the project, UMSL plans to monitor the regions for regrowth and treat any returning invaders with herbicide. Later, they will seed the areas with native plants in an effort to restore the forest understory.

UMSL received $30,000 in funding as part of a Missouri Department of Community Conservation Fund grant.

Ward said the university has a responsibility to maintain its natural areas, and he hopes to be able to apply for future funding to remove invasive plants from other regions on campus.

“Being at a university, I think it’s even more important to be at the forefront of these initiatives,” he said.

The UMSL Grounds Department will host a community event to showcase the restoration work on Feb. 14.

If you go:

UMSL forest restoration demo day

Where: East Drive, near the UMSL South Campus Garage

When: 9 a.m., Feb. 14

Cost: Free

For more information:  Contact Gregory Ward, wardgk@umsl.edu, 314-516-6323

Follow Shahla on Twitter: @shahlafarzan

Editor’s note: The University of Missouri Board of Curators, which also governs UMSL, holds the license to St. Louis Public Radio. The station is editorially independent.

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