Removing Invasives

How should I remove this invasive species from my property? What should I do with it after? Here is where we will answer both of these questions and provide methods to help you get it done.

Removal Methods


Hand-Pulling


Hand removal of plants is possible for light infestations and where native species co-occur with it. This is recommended for plants with stems under 2 inches in diameter. If a plant is particularly hard to pull out, digging around the edges with a shovel helps loosen the plant. This process is easier when the soil is moist. Firmly grasp the plant low and tug gently until the main root loosens from the soil and the entire plant pulls out. Remove the plant with its entire root system or new plants may sprout from root fragments.
Hand Pulling Method Image

Mechanical Removal


For vines, shrubs, and trees with stems larger than 2 inches, some form of mechanical or chemical removal may be needed. Shears can be used to cut vines out of trees and hand pulling can be used to remove their roots from the ground. A weed wrench, or similar device, is useful for uprooting small shrubs and tree. See here for more info on these. Simply digging out the plant with a shovel may prove effective.
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Chemical Removal


For plants large enough that they their roots cannot be fully removed by mechanical means, or for larger infestations where mechanical control isn't feasible, chemical removal may be used sparingly. Foliar spray is not recommended on a plant as it may cause damage to the surrounding flora and fauna. Instead, the "cut-and-dab" or "stem-and-swipe" method are recommended.
  1. Before removal, mix herbicide in a small bucket with a paint brush.
  2. Cut the plant at the base of the ground with a saw to produce a stump.
  3. Apply the herbicide to the stump within 5-15 minutes of the plant being cut. This is to ensure the plant takes up the chemical before it seals the root site.
  4. Clean up site and dispose of chemicals properly. Always read the entire pesticide label carefully, follow all mixing and application instructions and wear all recommended personal protective gear and clothing.
Tree Stump with Large Rings

Disposing of Plants


Bring it to the Composting Site


Residents can bring invasive plants to the Town Composting Site free of charge! Just bring your removed plants as they are to the Town Composting Site, and Public Works will dispose of them properly. The site is located at Walden Street (route 126), just across Route 2, on left before you reach Walden Pond. It is open for use every Saturday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. For more information on the disposal site, view the Recycling page.
Town of Concord Composting Sign

Burning and Chipping


For the woody branches and trunks of a plant, it is acceptable to wood chip or burn. Do not chip plants with berries, or plants that regrow from stem or root fragments (Japanese Knotweed, Glossy Buckthorn, Honeysuckles, Tree of Heaven). Do not burn plants that contain seed pods as this will only help disperse the seeds throughout the air. Outdoor burning requires a permit from the local fire department. View the Open Burning page and learn more about acquiring a permit before you start the project.
Pile of Wood Chips

Bagging


The green vascular material of many plants, and the seed pods, has the ability to continue to grow if they are simply left on the ground. To insure that they don't return, bagging them can be one of the best methods of disposal. By sealing the plants in black plastic, you can be sure to properly kill the plants. The steps are simple:
  1. First obtain some large black plastic trash bags.
  2. Put all the clippings including the root systems into the plastic bags.
  3. Place the bags in a hot, well lit, place to insure the plants drying.
  4. Wait usually about a week until plants have browned. These are then safe to dispose of in regular compost.
Black Trash Bag Next to Plants

Composting


It is possible to use composting as an effective disposal method, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. Many of these invasives are able to survive in harsh conditions, and the seeds produced by many of them are able to withstand even harsher. Though correctly performed composting can reach very high temperatures, it is a good idea to bag the plants first to insure they are completely dead. Composting plants with seeds is also warned against, and is only recommended if you are sure your compost is reaching temperature between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Composting Window and Plant
As a reminder, any invasive species removal within 100 feet of wetland resource areas, including certified vernal pools, or within 200 feet of a perennial stream may require approval from the Concord Natural Resources Commission. Please contact the Division of Natural Resources before you begin.