Applications for a free invasive plant trade-in program now open

ByTony Smith via WLS logo
Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Stephanie Walquist, with the West Cook Wild Ones, talks about the new invasive plant trade-in program.

COOK COUNTY (WLS) -- A new program in Cook County will soon allows residents to trade-in an invasive tree or shrub for a free replacement.

In September, organizers from West Cook Wild Ones will give residents an opportunity to get a free native plant in exchange for the removal of an invasive species (list below). The program's mission is to help eliminate invasive plants species in the area. According to Stephanie Walquist, with West Cook Wild Ones, invasive plant species harm local ecosystems by wiping out native plants species. Walquist added invasive plants could cost billions of dollars through damage to ecosystems and cost to restore natural habitats.

Interested resident can apply for the free program by clicking here.

West Cook Wild Ones will be targeting the the following trees or shrubs because these are the woody plants doing the most damage in local natural areas:

  • Barberry
  • Burning Bush
  • Honeysuckle Shrub
  • Callery Pear
  • Buckthorn

Here are native plant species being offered:

  • Chokecherry
  • Wild Hazelnut
  • Praire Willow
  • Oak
  • Black Cherry
  • American Plum

For more information on the criteria and other resources, click here.