The Plants You Shouldn’t Plant
These invasive plants will hijack your yard. Low-maintenance, they are not.
When you need a concrete bunker to contain a plant, you know you’re in trouble. Some varieties of bamboo are so determined to spread that only extreme measures, such as plastic or concrete root barriers, can keep its rhizomes from invading your azaleas. Running varieties include Chimono-bambusa, Indocalamus, Pleioblastus, and Sasa. Clumping varieties are much better behaved — Bambusa, Borinda, Chusquera, Fargesia, and Otatea grow and spread more slowly.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
This popular ground cover and fence-grower has overstayed its welcome. Imported from Europe, where it adorns old buildings with charming effect, English ivy has overwhelmed American parks, forests, and suburban homes, climbing any kind of siding and drowning trees. It’s listed as a noxious weed in the Pacific Northwest and an invasive species along the Eastern seaboard. Pull it up in spring before new shoots can spread.
This ruthless invader will swarm over trees, buildings, road signs — anything in its path. It’s a semi-woody vine that can grow 1 foot per day, spreading through runners, rhizomes, and seeds. Once the plant takes hold, there’s no stopping it. Well, herbicides can stop it if you apply them for years. And herds of kudzu-grazing goats will eventually destroy the plant. If you don’t keep goats, spray and mow kudzu until it gives up.