Watch Out for Dame’s Rocket

Dames Rocket FlowerSometimes, an invasive species looks ugly. The gypsy moth is a pretty good example–it just doesn’t look like anything you’d want in your yard.

However, there are some very beautiful invasive species varieties that we still have to watch out for. Dame’s Rocket is one of these beautiful invaders.

As you see in our photo, Dame’s Rocket produces very pleasant pink flowers. There are also purple and white varieties.

In fact, they are so pretty that some people actually purchase them and use them on purpose. Some nurseries–usually those found at big box stores–still sell them as run-of-the-mill perennials.

Sometimes they wind up in people’s yards because people are just confused about what they are. They look a lot like the non-invasive Phlox flowers. However, you can tell the difference by counting the petals: Phlox flowers have 5 petals, whereas Dame’s Rocket only has 4.

Sometimes, people also plant Dame’s Rocket on accident. It can sometimes show up in pre-packaged “wildflower” seed packets. Once it’s in the ground it spreads very rapidly, and this can make it difficult to control.

Why is it important to pluck up Dame’s Rocket, roots and all? It’s actually a threat to our native forests. The Forest Invasive Plants Resource Center says:

It competes with native herbaceous plants at the edges of woodlands, in woodland openings, and in semi-open forests. This competition for light, moisture, and nutrients may inhibit tree seedling germination and growth.

The Wisconsin DNR also asks you to take the following steps to control this invasive plant:

  • Check the contents of wildflower seed packets before you use them.
  • Pull any Dame’s Rocket you find, roots and all. Bag them up for the landfill (do not compost!)
  • Apply herbicides containing glyphosate in the fall.

Invasive species are a serious problem in Wisconsin, so we want to help do our part by spreading the word. That way, we can all work together to preserve Wisconsin’s natural beauty.

We can’t help you with an invasive species problem. However, if you live in Mequon, Fox Point, or elsewhere in the Milwaukee metro area and want a beautiful new custom made fence, pergola, or gazebo, we’re the guys to call.

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