Invasive Plant Program

A species is invasive if it is not native to a particular ecosystem and its introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Invasive plants can flourish better than native plants and they often displace rare and endangered species that provide habitat for wildlife. These plants also inhibit the growth and regeneration of native trees. Why invasives outcompete natives: 

  • Adaptation to disturbed and “edge” sites that predominate in urban areas
  • Ability to tolerate various environmental conditions
  • Production of large amounts of seeds
  • High seed germination rate
  • Ability to spread by underground runners or rhizomes

About the Program

invasive plants

Photo: Porcelainberry along the W&OD Trail – 2013

A collaboration between staff, volunteers and contractors, the program:

  • Assesses the threat and impacts of invasive plants
  • Adapts County programs and policies to manage and prevent infestations
  • Engages community and cross-sector, multi-jurisdictional stakeholders
  • Coordinates invasive plant removal activities

For more information, call 703-228-1862 or email us.

Become a Volunteer

invasive plantsJoin the Remove Invasive Plants (RiP) volunteer group and support hands-on plants removal, education and surveys/mapping.

  • Work in small neighborhood sites where 90-100 percent removal of all invasive plants is an achievable goal; help educate neighbors.
  • Slow the spread of invasive plants in target areas by cutting vines back from trees and removing seed and fruit from select species.
  • Provide maintenance-level plant removal after vendors or County staff have completed preliminary work.
  • Provide preventive monitoring and spot removal in sites that are ecologically significant and have not yet been impacted.
  • Monitor target areas and serve as a quick-reaction force to eliminate newly established plants before they spread.

RiP welcomes all ages and abilities.