Know Your Invasive Plants

The Boise Foothills and River Corridor support a variety of native plants and animals. Such biodiversity is threatened when a non-native plant species come to occupy these ecosystems.

Non-native invasive species can alter the complex balance between plants, animals and soil that have adapted over thousands of years. In extreme cases, the ecosystems that once supported this balance can be eliminated by the introduction of non-native invasive species. In the Boise Foothills, for example, cheatgrass has outcompeted several native grasses and has grown into a blanket of grass covering much of the foothills. Cheatgrass burns easily and thrives after wildfire and, therefore, can replace grasses, shrubs and forbs that do not grow back quickly after fire. Our foothills, once supporting the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem, is now an invaded grassland ecosystem in many areas of the Boise Foothills. This shif in ecosystem causes significant changes in the composition, structure, and ecosystem function in our precious, public Open Space areas and beyond.

Non-native invasive species are often hard to control. They often require a mix of mechanical, chemical and hand removal efforts over several years to become successfully managed or eliminated. It is key to find and eliminate non-native invasive species when they are small, and remove them before they establish and propagate.

A typical non-native invasive plant will have some or all of the following characteristics:

  •        Grows fast and matures early
  •        Spreads quickly over large areas; thrives in many habitats
  •        Reproduces profusely by seed and/or vegetative structures
  •        Survives and produces seeds under adverse environmental conditions
  •        Has few known diseases or pests
  •        Is difficult to remove or control

There are many common non-native invasive species in the Boise Foothills. Learn more by clicking each of them below: