trees Invasive Plant Resources


Last Updated March 15, 2006

This section contains Michigan specific information related to invasive plants in forests. Below are lists of problem species, invasive plant monitoring projects, financial assistance programs, state laws, plus links and contacts for more information on invasive plants and organizations within the state. Please let us know if you have suggestions for changes, additions or updates. We need your help to keep this section current and informative. Contact WDNR Forestry (

Return to the Forest Invasive Plants homepage for species factsheets, federal funding sources for management & control, all-states listing of monitoring/mapping projects, research articles & publications, and more.

  1. Current (and Future) Invasive Plants
  2. Invasive Plant Projects (monitoring, mapping, inventories)
  3. Funding and Cost-share Programs for Invasive Plant Control
  4. State Weed Laws & Regulations
  5. Links to State Forestry and Invasive Plant Groups
  6. Contacts

1. Current and Future Invasive Plants

Note: This list is ranked, approximately, from greatest to least threat in Michigan.
[If underlined, click to see factsheet for that species.]

  • Worst Invasives. Species currently causing the greatest problems in Michigan forests.
    • Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
    • Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
    • Eurasian bush honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.)
    • Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
  • Widespread Invasives. Plants found in forests in much of the state.
    • Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
    • Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus)
    • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
    • Dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
    • White mulberry (Morus alba)
    • Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
    • Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)
    • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
    • European marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre)
  • Localized Invasives. Plants found only in limited areas of the state.
    • Black swallow-wort (Vincetoxicum nigrum)
  • Future Threats. Species that could become serious problems in the future. These plants are invasive in other states with similar climatic and ecological zones.
    • Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum)
    • Sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima)
    • Pale swallow-wort (Vincetoxicum rossicum)

2. Invasive Plant Inventories

Most states have one or more ongoing projects for inventorying, monitoring or mapping invasive plants. These may be state-sponsored or managed by private organizations and groups, and may cover plants statewide or in a specific area. We encourage the sharing of information among these groups to achieve a more complete understanding of invasive plants in each state.

Known projects in Minnesota are listed below. Please see also the Monitoring & Mapping Projects section for a complete list for each state as well as multi-state and nationwide initiatives. We invite additions or corrections to this information – please contact WDNR Forestry (

  • Title: Garlic Mustard Project, Michigan State University
    • Contact: Jeff Evans ( or Doug Landis (
    • Website:
    • Geographic area: Michigan’s Lower Peninsula
    • Species tracked: Garlic mustard, native woodland species
    • Description: While Michigan has extensive garlic mustard infestations, it lacks adequate baseline population data on garlic mustard, impacts on non-target plants and the potential for biological control to help manage this plant. The objectives of current research are to: 1) Conduct pre-release evaluation of garlic mustard populations and distribution in Michigan. 2) Evaluate potential impact of herbivore feeding on population regulation in garlic mustard. Researchers have established eight long-term garlic mustard monitoring sites in the southern Lower Peninsula. These sites span a mixture of forest types from dry hardwood (oak-hickory associations) to wetter sites (beech-maple association). The forest plant community at each of these sites has been characterized and permanent quadrats have been established to evaluate population changes in garlic mustard and non-target plant species. Studies at two of these locations will allow assessment of the level of herbivore impact necessary to regulate garlic mustard population dynamics.
  • Title: Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC)
    • Contact: Miles Falck (, and Steve Garske (
    • GLIFWC, P.O. Box 9, 100 Maple St., Odanah, WI 54861 (715) 682-6619
    • Website:
    • Geographic area: Northern Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
    • Species tracked: Many invasive species with special emphasis on purple loosestrife
    • Description: Using an interactive online reporting system, staff map and track purple loosestrife in the ceded territories (northern areas of MN, WI, and MI). Staff are developing a large database on characteristics of invasive plants. There are additional mapping projects as well. Factsheets and photos of many invasives are on the website.
  • Title: Ottawa National Forest
    • Contact: Ian Shackleford (,
    • 500 N. Moore St., Bessemer, MI 49911. (906) 932-1330 x508.
    • Website:
    • Geographic area: Ottawa National Forest (Within Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Marquette and Ontonagon Counties)
    • Species tracked: Over 25 invasive species of high to medium concern, with the most abundant being Eurasian bush honeysuckles, Japanese barberry, glossy buckthorn and European marsh thistle.
    • Description: All National Forests use the Forest Service Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) to track invasive species in a geospatial databases. Other Michigan units are Hiawatha National Forest and Huron-Manistee National Forest.

3. Funding and Cost Share Programs for Invasive Plant Control

  • Federal assistance programs for non-industrial private landowners. For a chart summarizing eight assistance programs, see:
  • Michigan Landowner Incentive Program - LIP
  • This program encourages private landowners to conserve and manage critical habitat, protect habitat through conservation easements, and prevent loss of rare or declining species. Projects that achieve these goals through invasive species control may be eligible. In Michigan , this program is run through the MDNR Wildlife Division and all work is done on private land.
  • Website for federal information: t /FederalAid/programs/lip.htm
  • Michigan Forest Land Enhancement Program – FLEP
  • FLEP grants offer cost-sharing opportunities to Michigan forest landowners for establishing resource management plans and practices for improving watershed and forest stand quality, wildlife and fish habitat, forest health, and rehabilitating forest lands after catastrophic events. Invasive species removal may qualify for funds.
  • Eligibility : Non-industrial private landowners who own and intend to manage at least five wooded acres.
  • Contact: Debra Huff, Forest Stewardship Coordinator, (517) 335-3355, DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management, PO Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909-7952.
  • Website: MI FLEP or contact your local state forester.
  • Federal Website:

4. State Weed Laws

  • Noxious Terrestrial Plants
  • Laws addressing noxious weeds: MI Comp. Laws 247.62-247.70
  • Laws addressing prohibited noxious weed seeds: MI Comp. Laws 286.702-286.75
  • Source of information: Michigan Department of Agriculture – Noxious, Prohibited, and Restricted Plants website. See website for Prohibited (19 species) and Restricted (23 species) Noxious Plant species – most of which are non-forest species.
  • Transgenic and Nonnative Organisms – Aquatic Plants
  • Laws addressing nonnative organisms: MI Comp. Laws 324.41301 - 324.41323
  • Source of information: Wildlife Conservation Act (Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act)
  • The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Part 413 (Transgenic and Nonnative Organisms, revised in 2005) designates prohibited and restricted aquatic plant species, which include some terrestrial plants. See website for Prohibited (11 species) and Restricted (5 species) Aquatic Plant species – all of which are non-forest species.
  • Regulated Seeds . Michigan law also regulates the sale of certain noxious weed seeds in the context of agricultural seed. Noxious weeds are divided into two categories. Prohibited means no seed of a particular species can be present in seed mixes. Restricted species are those that have maximum allowable percentages for the amount of seed that may be present within a seed mix. Although these species cannot be sold as seed, the possession of growing plants is not currently regulated. Acts and regulations that pertain to weeds inlcude:
  • Insect Pests, Plant Diseases and Prohibited Plants:
  • Act 189 of 1931 addresses Insect Pests and Plant Diseases. For example, barberry, mahonia or mahoberberis bushes subject to attack by black stem rust are prohibited.
  • Act 313 of 1929 – White Pine Blister Rust – prohibits planting of currants and gooseberries in certain parts of the state.
  • Purple loosestrife - any non-native member of the genus Lythrum or hybrid of the genus are prohibited from sale.

5. Links to State Forestry and Invasive Plant Groups

6. Contacts

  • State Forestry Program Offices - Go to ‘Contact DNR' at the top of DNR homepage to get contact information for the main office in Lansing and the nine 'Operations Service Centers' across the state.
  • Forest , Mineral, and Fire Management Offices. Contact the Division Office
  • PO Box 30452 , Lansing MI 48909-7952 , (517) 373-1275. Or see website.
  • Invasive Plant Contacts
  • Michigan Invasive Plant Council (MIPC)
  • Doug Pearsall ( ), (517) 316-2259 – MIPC Board member
  • Amy Frankmann (, (517) 381-0437 -- MIPC Chair
  • Mike Bryan (, (517) 241-2977 -- Nursery Program Manager, Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, MI Department of Agriculture
  • Garlic Mustard Project, Michigan State University. Extensive photos and management information for controlling garlic mustard infestations. Contact Jeff Evans ( or Doug Landis (
  • Michigan Cooperative Monitoring Program. Volunteers actively carry out monitoring programs on lakes, streams, rivers and watersheds throughout Michigan .  Aquatic nuisance species of plants and animals, include purple loosestrife, are monitored. Email: