What Is an Invasive Species?
A non-native species that:
- has spread into native or minimally managed natural systems
- has developed self-sustaining populations by becoming dominant and/or disruptive to native systems
- has no natural pests/predators
- causes environmental or economic harm
Invasive insects and animals are brought on packing materials, imported products, or as exotic pets. Many invasive plant species were originally brought here as ornamental plants. You many have some of them in your yard, like burning bush, bush honeysuckle or Japanese barberry.
What Can be Done About Invasive Plants?
Remove them from your property by:
- Identifying the invasives in your yard
- Disposing of them properly
- Plant native plants that benefit our local birds and beneficial insects
Removing vegetation, including invasive species, in or near wetlands, streams, and vernal pools, is regulated by the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Lexington Wetlands By-Law and may require review by the Lexington Conservation Commission. Please contact the Conservation Division before removing any plant material from the previously mentioned resource areas.
Report Sightings of Invasives
You can report invasives when you find them on public land, using an online for or a smarphone app.
Volunteer to Help Remove Them from Conservation Land
The Lexington Conservation Division, with the tireless help of our Conservation Stewards and many volunteers, works hard to rid our conservation areas of invasive species. Find out how you can help.
Invasive Species Around the World
Invasive plants have been brought to North America mostly from other continents, either accidentally or purposely for agricultural or ornamental use, and have become widespread in our natural environment. Invasive species act as hitchhikers; arriving on wood packing material carried in cargo ships and airplanes, latched onto a campers firewood, or carried on boots, boats, tires and cars. Learn about how Seattle Yachts prevents the spread of invasive species and protects aquatic ecosystems.
Asiatic bittersweet vines growing up trees. Photo courtesy Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Bush honeysuckle infestation. Photo courtesy Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org