Fall in the Ozarks is an ideal time for a hike to observe some vibrant fall colors of native trees and shrubs. It is also the best time to spot some of Missouri’s problematic invasive shrubs and vines. Many of the most prevalent invasive plants in the area tend to hold their growing season color and fruit a bit longer or have brighter fall colors than their native counterparts, causing these invaders stick out like sore thumbs. Whether it is the plump red berries of bush honeysuckle, distinctive leaves of Japanese honeysuckle growing on a fence line, reddish-purple color of burning bush leaves, or the evergreen leaves of wintercreeper, some of these alien plants are currently putting on the show that brought them to Ozarks.

The next time you are out enjoying some fresh air, keep an eye out for some of these invasive species.See something you like? Well… look but do please do not plant. For more information about these and other invasive plant species, please visit Missouri Dept. of Conservation website:www.mdc.mo.gov/trees-…/problem-plant-control/invasive-plants, or visit the watershed center and pick up a list of native plant alternatives for plants often sold at retail centers.
Seth Wheeler, Watershed Fellow