trees Invasive Plant Resources


This section contains Minnesota 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 Minnesota .
[If underlined, click to see factsheet for that species.]

  • Worst Invasives. Species currently causing the greatest problems in Minnesota forests.
    • Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
    • Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus)
    • Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
    • Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
    • Amur maple (Acer ginnala)
  • Widespread Invasives. Plants found in forests in much of the state.
    • Eurasian bush honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.)
    • Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
    • Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
    • Siberian pea shrub (Caragana arborescens)
    • Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)
    • Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
    • Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
    • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
    • Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • Localized Invasives. Plants found only in limited areas of the state.
    • British yellowhead (Inula britannica)
    • Cut-leaved teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus)
    • Dalmation toadflax (Linaria genistifolia ssp. dalmatica)
    • Meadow knapweed (Centaurii debeauxii)
  • Future Threats. Species that could become serious problems in the future. These plants are invasive in other states with similar climatic and ecological zones.
    • Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
    • Black swallow-wort (Vincetoxicum nigrum)
    • Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum)
    • Chinese yam (Dioscorea oppositifolia)
    • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
    • Mile-a-minute (Polygonum perfoliatum)
    • Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
    • English ivy (Hedera helix)
    • Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius)

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: Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Invasive Species Program
    • Contact: Teresa McDill (teresa.mcdillat
    • Minnesota Dept of Agriculture, 625 Robert St. N. , St. Paul , MN 55155
    • Website:
    • Geographic area: Minnesota
    • Species tracked: Terrestrial invasive plants threatening to or initially entering Minnesota
    • Description: The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is the lead state agency to abate, eradicate, prevent or otherwise regulate the introduction or establishment of plant pests that threaten Minnesota 's agricultural, forest or horticultural interests or the general ecological quality of the state. The MDA Invasive Species Program addresses the findings of new invasive plants in the state and uses partnership cooperation, or if needed regulatory authority, to eradicate populations before they become established and widespread.
    • In addition, MDA works with other states to monitor the national spread of plants not known to occur in the state, in order to gauge their proximity to Minnesota borders. MDA works with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and submits reports to the national database for first detections of invasive plants. To determine which of many invasive species will be a threat in Minnesota , MDA is developing a pest risk assessment method in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service.
    • Several national studies have shown that the cost of preventing the establishment of invasive species is often about one-third the cost of controlling an invasive species once established. MDA routinely gets calls through the Arrest the Pest Hotline at (651) 201-6684 in the twin cities area and 1-888-545-6684 for reports of possible sightings of new invasive plants.
  • Title: Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Integrated Weed Management Program
    • Contact: Anthony Cortilet (Anthony.Cortiletat
    • Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture, Laboratory, 601 North Robert St. N. , St. Paul , MN 55155
    • Website:
    • Geographic area : Minnesota
    • Species managed : Terrestrial Nuisance Plants and Noxious Weeds
    • Description: The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Weed Integrated Pest Management Program (WIPM) provides management resources to counties, townships, cities and private landowners throughout the state for combating nuisance plant species (noxious, exotic, and/or invasive) on their lands. The WIPM project consists of a mobile GIS/GPS mapping project for a variety of weed species statewide, a biological control program for several terrestrial plant species (spotted knapweed, leafy spurge, and exotic thistles), and a research component for studying the impacts of various integrated strategies to combat problem plants. The WIPM works with a long list of cooperators statewide to promote its core functions and the use of integrated techniques for managing plant systems. Through this elaborate system of cooperators (including federal, state, county, and private entities), WIPM is also active with education and outreach regarding integrated weed management strategies for general operations and specific species. WIPM also works closely with our Invasive Species Program to help combat the spread of invasive species in MN.
  • Title: Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Invasive Species Program
    • (Terrestrial Invasive Plants)
    • Contact: Luke C. Skinner (luke.skinnerat,
    • Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Rd. , St. Paul , MN 55155-4025
    • Website: To access the buckthorn and other invasive plant pages
    • Geographic area: Minnesota
    • Species tracked: Multiple species of terrestrial invasive plants
    • Description: The MN DNR Invasive Species Program is leading an effort to improve management of terrestrial invasive plants on DNR managed lands. Funding is being used to support a collaborative effort to enhance the DNR's ability to effectively manage terrestrial invasive plants. Four areas were identified for funding: terrestrial exotics inventory, research on control methods, invasive species management, and information/education.
    • Using standardized protocols developed by the DNR and MDA, more than 6,000 locations of invasive plant species on state-managed lands have already been mapped using GPS/GIS technologies. This includes surveys conducted in 20 state parks, 120 wildlife management areas and along 140 miles of state trails. Managers will now be better able to target and monitor results of control efforts on these populations.
    • In addition, funds are being provided to support additional research on bio-control methods for garlic mustard and buckthorn. Research is also underway to refine methods of controlling Canada thistle in the Talcot area, where this weed dominates in many Wildlife Management Areas. The goal of the research is to improve control of Canada thistle, reduce herbicide use and reduce impacts to native plants.
    • Best management practices are also being developed to reduce the movement of invasive plants during DNR management or development projects and funding is being provided for a demonstration project to manage invasive plants in a public/private effort across ownership boundaries in western Minnesota . For some plants, web pages are being created to provide comprehensive information on ID and management strategies. A page on Buckthorn is available at: Other factsheets are available at
  • Title: MN DNR Invasive Species Program (Purple loosestrife Management)
    • Contact: Luke C. Skinner (luke.skinnerat,
    • Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Rd. , St. Paul , MN 55155-4025
    • Website:
    • Geographic area: Minnesota
    • Species tracked: Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
    • Description: Since 1992, four species of insects including two leaf-feeding beetles, Galerucella calmariensis and G. pusilla , one flower-feeding weevil, Nanophyes mamoratus , and one root-boring weevil, Hylobius transversovittatus , have been introduced into the United States for control of purple loosestrife. Since the first introductions in Minnesota , staff have evaluated establishment and control success of Galerucella spp. Key components to the loosestrife program are: 1) cooperative rearing efforts; 2) establishment success; 3) landscape scale movement of control agents and its effect on insect distribution; and 4) control success and plant community response over the last decade. To date, more than 8 million Galerucella spp. have been released into more than 800 loosestrife infestations statewide. Galerucella has established at >85% of release sites visited since 1992. Release sites that have not established may be affected by flood events, habitat preferences, and/or other management practices. More than 45% of the ~300 release sites visited in 2004 had >50% total defoliation of the purple loosestrife plants. This is a 30% increase from 1999. On many sites it took several years of defoliation before loosestrife stem densities were significantly reduced. GPS and GIS technologies were used to map the movement of Galerucella spp. over time within four Minnesota wetlands in a small-scale study. It was found that the beetles dispersed throughout the purple loosestrife wetlands within 1-2 years after initial release. The ability of Galerucella spp. beetles to disperse from their original point of release to other neighboring, noncontiguous loosestrife infested wetlands was also examined. In this large-scale study, over 160 sites were sampled in four distinct geographic areas in Minnesota . The beetles have dispersed up to 20 km and have colonized more than 85% of the sites surrounding the original release points within 4 years.
  • Title: Minnesota DNR Invasive Species Program (Aquatic Plants and Animals)
    • Contact: Jay Rendall (jay.rendallat, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155-4025
    • Website:
    • Geographic area: Minnesota
    • Species tracked: Aquatic exotic plants and animals
    • Description: Minnesota has an extensive aquatic exotics prevention and education program that includes tracking of water bodies with Eurasian water-milfoil and other invasive species.
  • Title: GLIFWC ( Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission)
    • Contact: Miles Falck (milesat, and Steve Garske (stevegat
    • 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: Private forest landowner workshops to identify, control, and monitor invasive species
    • Contact: Gigi La Budde (bbfat, (608) 588-2048, Community Forestry Resource Center , 2105 First Ave. S. , Minneapolis , MN 55404 .
    • Geographic area: Wisconsin , Iowa , Minnesota
    • Description: The Community Forestry Resource Center (CFRC) has recently received considerable support from granting agencies such as the Wisconsin DNR- Forest Stewardship Fund to conduct workshops for private forest landowners, resource managers, and loggers. In 2004, eight such workshops were held (one under the "umbrella" of The Woodland School") with an average attendance of 25 people per session. Workshops have been held throughout the state of Wisconsin , as well as Minnesota and Iowa . The audience is primarily private forest landowner group members, but the workshops are advertised locally and are open to the general public. These workshops have focused on identification, control and monitoring of invasive plants.
    • CFRC, established by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, is a private, non-profit organization which promotes responsible forest management by encouraging the long-term health and prosperity of small, privately owned woodlots, their owners and their communities.

3. Funding and Cost Share Programs for Invasive Plant Control

  • Minnesota Forest Stewardship Program
  • For private landowners owning more than 20 acres of land looking for voluntary, long-range conservation planning assistance tailored to their goals and the capacity of their land. A forester or other natural resource professional meets with the landowner, listens to their goals and examines their property. Landowners receive a Woodland Stewardship plan that meets their goals while assessing the health, capability and care of the forest. Participation is voluntary and no property rights are lost. Contact your area DNR forester for information and inquire about cost-share programs that may pay a percentage of the cost for management activities.
  • Website: src="/stewardship/index.shtm
  • Contact: Private Forest Program Supervisor, DNR Forestry, 500 Lafayette Rd., Box 44
    St. Paul , MN 55155 , Phone: (651) 259-5251, Fax: (651) 296-5954
  • Sustainable Woodlands Program
  • This state cost-share program encourages installation of ecologically-based resource management systems that conserve water quality, soil and other natural resources and enhance the timber, wildlife, recreational, aesthetic and environmental benefits of private woodlands. Possible practices include reforestation and afforestation, forest and agroforest improvement, soil and water protection and improvement, riparian and wetland protection and improvement, fisheries habitat improvement, wildlife enhancement, windbreak and hedgerow establishment and maintenance, and forest recreation enhancement.
  • Cost-share rate: 50%. The maximum cost-share payment is $10,000 per landowner per year.
  • Eligibility: Landowners must own at least 20 acres of forest land or have 20 acres on which they will plant and manage trees. Participants must have a comprehensive Forest Stewardship Plan in addition to a project plan. Such plans can be obtained from the DNR or other technical personnel designated by a DNR forester.
  • To Apply: Contact your Stewardship Plan preparer, your area DNR forester, or the Private Forest Program Supervisor, DNR Forestry, 500 Lafayette Rd., Box 44 , St. Paul , MN 55155 , Phone: (651) 259-5251.
  • Minnesota Forest Land Enhancement Program - FLEP
  • One part of this program provides cost-share assistance for invasive species control with the purpose of promoting regeneration of native species and providing control or preventative measures for invasive species. Activities include chemical and mechanical control and prescribed burning.
  • Eligibility : Private landowners. A Forest Stewardship Plan and project plan are required to be eligible for cost-sharing.
  • Contact: Your Stewardship Plan preparer, area DNR forester, or the Private Forest Program Supervisor, DNR Forestry, 500 Lafayette Rd., Box 44 , St. Paul , MN 55155 , Phone: (651) 259-5251.

4. State Weed Laws

  • Minnesota and Federal Prohibited and Noxious Plants: Includes terrestrial, aquatic and parasitic plants.
  • Noxious Plants of Minnesota: Includes prohibited noxious plants, restricted noxious plants, secondary noxious weeds, and noxious seeds. Minnesota Rules 1505.0730 to 1505.0750.
  • Common Name Botanical Name
    Leafy Spurge Euphorbia esula
    Field Bindweed Convolvulus arvensis
    Hemp Cannabis sativa
    Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria, L. virgatum, or any combination
    Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata
    Poison Ivy Toxicodendron radicans
    Perennial Sowthistle Sonochus arvensis
    Bull Thistle Cirsium vulgare
    Canada Thistle Cirsium arvense
    Musk Thistle Carduus nutans
    Plumeless Thistle Carduus acanthoides
  • RESTRICTED NOXIOUS WEEDS (MN Rules 1505.0732) The importation, sale, and transport of these plants or their propagating parts in the state except as provided by Minnesota Statutes, section 18.82, is prohibited.
  • Common Name Botanical Name
    Buckthorn, common Rhamnus cathartica
    Buckthorn, glossy, including all cultivars Frangula alnus
  • Minnesota Exotic Animals and Aquatic Plants Law : Click here for state-prohibited animals and aquatic plants

5. Links to State Forestry and Invasive Plant Groups

6. Contacts

  • Teresa McDill, Invasive Species Unit Supervisor
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • 625 Robert St. N , St. Paul , MN 55155
  • (651) 201-6448, Teresa.McdillAT
  • Luke Skinner, Invasive Species Program (plants)
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • 500 Lafayette Rd., Box 25 , St. Paul , MN 55155-4025
  • (651) 297-3763, luke.skinnerat
  • Invasive Species Program Staff (link to pdf version)
  • Alan Jones, Silviculture, Lands & Roads Supervisor (Forestry)
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • 500 Lafayette Rd.
  • St. Paul , MN 55155
  • (651) 259-5271
  • alan.jonesat
  • Minnesota DNR Information Center
  • 500 Lafayette Rd.
  • St. Paul , MN 55155-4040
  • Telephone: (651) 296-6157
  • Toll-free (888) MIN-NDNR
  • TTY: (651) 296-5484 or (800) 657-3929
  • Link to DNR forestry region and area offices