Common Invasive Species in the Lower Saco River Valley

Standard Practices

  • Ensure you have properly identified an invasive species before removing. Use Maine DACF fact sheets, field guides, or smart phone apps such as Seek.
  • Fruits and flowers should always be bagged
  • Toss woody stems and branches off of trails, riparian zones, streams, and sensitive habitats.

Effective tools: Use loppers, clippers, hand saw, axe, pick axe, pick mattock, spade shovel.

Other supplies includes work gloves, eye protection, black bags/leaf & litter bags, Buckthorn Baggies.

Identification & Control Methods

Asiatic Bittersweet
Celastrus orbiculatus

  • Climbing vine can grow 50 feet long
  • Fruits have yellow seed covers with reddish orange inner berries
  • Flowers are 5-petaled and greenish yellow
  • Leaves are teardrop shaped and serrated

Control methods:

  • Window cut for large vines– make a cut on the stem at chest height and another at ankle height
  • Smaller vines– persistent cutting and digging up roots-  6x/yr for 3 yrs


Morrow’s honeysuckle
Lonicera morrowii

  • Can grow up to 10 feet tall and wide
  • Red berries
  • White flowers
  • Leaves are egg shaped or oval shaped and edges are not serrated

Control methods:

  • Persistent cutting or burning of the root crown/digging up roots
  • Will need to get entire stump out of soil or cover with black bag


Japanese Knotweed
Fallopia japonica

  • Base of leaf is heart shaped
  • Can grow up to 12 feet tall
  • Pithy/hollow stalk, like bamboo
  • Small white flowers arranged in spikes along the stem

Control methods:

  • Remove by chopping at ground level with loppers or axe
  • For vast areas– you can pile the cut stalks on top of live ones and slowly cut off from sun exposure
  • Smother with tarps or landscaping cloth


Multiflora Rose
Rosa multiflora

  • Leaves are serrated and small, only 1 inch long
  • Flowers are small (1 inch wide), white, and clustered on twig tips
  • Shrub but can grow up to 20 feet tall

Control methods:

  • Persistent cutting and digging up roots is necessary
  • Can be mowed or grazed by sheep and goats


Glossy Buckthorn
Frangula alnus

  • Glossy leaves are 2 to 4 inches long
  • Berries are green, red, or purple-black
  • Single stemmed tree can each 20 feet in height

Control methods:

  • Persistent cutting or burning of the root crown, and digging up roots
  • Will need to get entire stump out of soil or cover with black bag (Buckthorn Baggy is recommended)


Japanese Barberry
Berberis thunbergii

  • This shrub can be up to 6 feet wide and tall
  • Very sharp and long spines along stem
  • Leaves are small (1 inch) with a smooth edge and turn red in fall
  • Oblong red berries appear in the late summer

Control methods:

  • Pull up small plants with root attached if possible
  • Mowing and fire may also be used
  • Wear gloves when removing!

Want to learn in the field? Volunteer!

Email Abby to learn more about volunteering to remove invasives.

Check out the PDF Guide below

Invasive guide

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