Invasive Plants


A species is invasive if it is not native to a particular ecosystem and if its introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm. 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
  • Not eaten by local wildlife, free from competition and herbivory
  • Production of large amounts of seeds
  • High seed germination rate
  • Ability to spread by underground runners or rhizomes

Become a Volunteer

Remove Invasive Plants logo Join the Remove Invasive Plants (RiP) volunteers and work hands-on to improve habitat.

To volunteer for one of our regular events, listed in blue on the right of this page, pre-register here Use the tabs to switch between all 10 sites and see the volunteer workdays coming up in the next two months for each site. You can also contact to schedule one for your school, church or business group, or to otherwise participate in this program.

RIP Volunteers:

  • Save trees by cutting back vines that strangle or smother them.
  • Slow the spread of invasive plants by removing them before they go to seed, or by cutting off fruit and berries where eliminating the whole plant is not possible.
  • Provide maintenance-level plant removal after vendors or County staff have completed preliminary work.
  • Learn to identify both invasive and native plants.
  • Monitor target areas and serve as a quick-reaction force to eliminate newly established plants before they spread.
  • Dress for the weather, and enjoy time in the great outdoors!

About the Program

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.

Porcelainberry along the W&OD Trail – 2013
Photo: Porcelainberry along the W&OD Trail – 2013