Renewable Resources
Renewable Resources

Exotic Species Removal

Methods Of Removal

Site conditions can vary between steep mountain slopes to flooded marshes. Successful removal can involve hand removal of seed heads to reduce seed banks, hand removal of entire plants, selective and broadcast herbicide application, disking, mowing, and controlled burning. Woody sites can require chainsaw removal and herbicide stump treatment. Some sites may call for mechanical extraction.

We have the experience to assist you in making sure the method used is the most reliable, environmentally stable, and cost effective approach.

Here we are removing exotics including Siberian Elm, Locust, Mulberry, Chinese Willow, along with the aggressive natives Cottonwood, and Red Maple.

The site location is the Little Calumet River Mitigation Contract we performed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Gary IN.

We employed a chipper to chip the trees after extracting them with a backhoe. The chipping will allow for the nutrients as well as some of the carbon to become incorporated into the soil as it decays.

Cultivation is another form of disrupting unwanted plants and their seed production.

The field next to the ditch bank being cleaned of exotic trees is being disked as step one in reducing the seed bank presently on the site. The disking kills the current sprouted plants and turns the soil, exposing more seed enriched soil to the sun warming the soil promoting germination of more unwanted weeds.

This field was filled with Queen Anne’s Lace, Ragweed, Purple Loosestrife and Curley Dock. The cultivation will promote a second round of germination to be turned again or sprayed. Once depletion of the seed bank is realized it may be time to broadcast spray the site. Spraying becomes the preferred tool when vegetation matting is needed or it is time to reseed with natives.

Sometimes herbicides applied directly to the cut stumps in conjunction with a cutting and chipping operation can have the lowest impact on a site with the greatest effects.

One must look at the goal of the client and potential impact on the environment in recommending a vegetation removal plan.

While some may be fearful of applying herbicides next to water. It can be the safest approach to meeting the goals.

Mechanically excavating these roots would have caused erosion, and weakened the dam. The pond is not likely to create pressure that will cause a leak while the treated root systems decay because native grasses and forbs will take advantage of the decaying root systems and strong, if not stronger, root growth will replace the treated saplings which we removed and chipped.

Exotics can intertwine with the root systems of natives and do present a real challenge in controlling them without losing the desired native.

Above we see exotic Wisteria that is growing right out of the root zone of this Southern Red Oak. Removing the Wisteria frees up the Red Oak, but what is the safest way to kill the the root system of the Wisteria without harming the Red Oak?

Glyphosate is not soil active but it translocates well and could bridge a grafted root allowing the herbicide to enter the Oak’s root system. We chose to use a 33% Solution of Garlon-4 in water. The active ingredient Triclopyr does not travel in the vascular system of plants with the same ease as does Glyphosate, nor is Triclopyr soil active, making Triclopyr the right herbicide for this vegetation control objective.

We removed this exotic Mimosa from the bank of the Chattahoochee River for the National Park Service. The stump was treated with a 1:1 mixture of Glyphosate and water.

Why not Garlon-4?

Root grafting is not an issue. However we do not want to apply a petroleum based herbicide next to the river that supplies the City of Atlanta with its drinking water.

Even though this is a river bank, the soils are not hydric so a regular formulation of Glyphosate will work just fine.

Training our crew to identify exotics such as this Russian Olive hanging out in a native Oak and Pine forest in the National Park is a primary goal at Renewable. We had advised the crew on their trail clearing task that if they encountered any exotics that were on our list of bad guys that they could cut first and spray later!! Garlon-4 at 4% was used to treat the stump the following day. Considering it was mid January and that the Russian Olive has thin bark treating the next morning will still render control.
At times good old elbow grease is the preferred method to restore the use of an an area that has become inundated with exotics such as Wisteria and Russian Olive. Once we had cleared the material we sprayed the cut vines and stubs with Garlon-4 and water using a 4% solution.

Timing is often the key to successful vegetation control.

As we returned in early spring to the Calumet site in Gary In the site has been seeded last fall with the native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Part of the seeding had to be delayed a year due to the need to remove the old drain tile that had only been plugged.Early spring allows for the emergent of exotics before the natives have started togerminate.Using a 3% solution of Glyphosate, Ignacio is preparing to selectively spray non-native grasses,including Kentucky Bluegrass and a local we learned to call Barnyard Grass. The background which is also “greening” will be disked and have our cultipacker smooth it before it is seeded in a few more weeks

What are the results of such an intensive effort?

We get new neighbors!

This is the area that Ignacio and Alberto were spraying the previous spring. An explosion of Black-eyed Susans erupted.

Black-eyed Susans are mixed with Butterfly Milkweed in full bloom and next we found the native but elusive Purple Prairie Clover.

Below on the left is a Dense Blazing Star getting ready to explode into a plume of purple. Nearby we find Tick-seed Trefoil blooming all over the site along with Tall Cinquefoil. We also found the grand Prairie Dock emerging on the site.

But our labor is not over. Due to the abundance of exotics to reseed the site, a monitoring and maintenance program ensures success of the site conversion from exotic to a more native content. To ensure the successful establishment of our new friends we performed massive amounts of hand removal and selective herbicide application allowing our newly established native populations to regain their dominant status in the environment.

This is a mountain of Queen Anne's Lace, one of hundreds that we created as the new prairie came with this unexpected transplant! It is said that Queen Ann’s Lace will land and sprout in disturbed areas. Well, since 16 months ago we were actually regrading and changing the channel of this creek the Lady held true to her form. Joe and Alberto have cleared half of the this section from blooming Queen Anne’s Lace. Being a member of the carrot family the plant will pull out of the ground with ease.


But the same can not be said for Curley Dock, the dark brown seed head you see in the foreground. This exotic was also a persistent pest requiring the return of our crew about once every 7 weeks or so to weed it off of the site by clipping and bagging the seed head. The plant is a annual in northern Indiana and can not make the winters.

One of the other persistent exotics was Phragmites, Joseph is in the process of clipping off its seed heads. Below you can see the seed heads and in the next frame they are gone.

After the clipping process is completed, Joe comes in a sprays the Phragmites with Roundup and extra surfactants.

The results speak for themselves:

Spring 2009 Fall 2008
Cup Plant on the rise.
Fully converted to tall grass prairie.
Compass Plant on the rise.
Monarch enjoying the site .
Fully converted to tall grass prairie.
Black Oak savanna - balanced.

Over the years, my wife and I have come to adopt our sites.

Little Calumet was a true labor of love.

Our application of our knowledge is deeply rooted. We know what works and does not. We understand timing and natures cycles.

From a field of ragweed, exotics, and man made ditches we succeeded in turning back the clock on this site and built a tall-grass native prairie.

Exotic Species Removal, whether in Gary Indiana, or Atlanta GA we understand it and how to accomplish it.

This is the same location five years ago. Time flies when you are having fun.


Renewable Resources
2222 Boyt Road
Yatesville, GA 31097
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Renewable Resources is your comprehensive environmental services provider. We specialize in environmental and ecological restoration, reforestation, exotic species removal, natural disaster relief, mitigation and offer a full suite of services aimed at creating or maintaining a healthy ecosystem. renewable forestry services, natural disaster relief, reforestation, mitigation, wetland, fuel hazard reduction, georgia, southeast, restoration, thinning, herbicide, carbon, chainsaw, machine planting, hand planting, invasive, prairie, grassland, h2b program, h2b workers, migrant labor, migrant workers, reforestation georgia, mitigation georgia, environmental company georgia, stewardship, land management, timber management, controlled burning, controlled burn, precommercial thinning, pre-commercial thinning, alternative fuel, welcome to renewable resources, david ellis, jill ellis, native habitat, hub zone, MSPA, small business, woman owned business, environmental contractor, conservation, environmental conservation, ecology, ecological restoration