According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, of the more than 2,000 plant species in the state, 25 percent are non-native.
“Invasive species are organisms, plants, animals alike that are not supposed to be in our state,” said Amber Slaughterbeck, Regional Specialist of the Indiana Invasives Initiative. “So they are non-native, you start there. And they are causing negative impacts across our state to our wildlife and wildlife habitat.”
Some invasive species, like the Bradford Pear tree can still be purchased in the state, but you wont be able to find them at Terre Haute’s Apple House.
“The nursery inspectors that come in and look over our nursery stock and everything have asked us to start to move that tree out of our inventory,” said Ryan Cummins, Co-Owner of Apple House. “So we don’t have those available.”
Last year Indiana officials began urging people to stop planting trees within the Bradford Pear family due to it’s ability to cross pollinate so quickly in urban areas.
“That tree, once it produces the flower, later on it will produce a fruit,” said Slaughterbeck. “That fruit is edible by wildlife and unknowingly they are helping to spread this invasive.”
For those who have Bradford Pears, there are other native trees that could replace the species.
“Different varieties of redbud. Dogwood, magnolia,” said Cummins. “Oh gosh, ornamental cherries are a real favorite as a replacement on those.”
Slaughterbeck is encouraging people in the community to locate other invasive species in their yards and make the switch to native varieties.
The Vigo Invasives Management community meets on the second Thursday of every month at the Indiana State Office of Sustainability from five to 6pm.
“Invasive species not only impact our wildlife negatively, but they’re also harmful for our own health,” she said. “So we ask everyone to start raising your own awareness and getting rid of these invasives with us.”
Other invasive trees in the Bradford Pear family include the New Bradford, Cleveland Select, Autumn Blaze, Aristocrat and the Capitol Pear tree.