Exotic plants, diseases and pests are a problem in the Commonwealth.
- Bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
- Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
- Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
- Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
- Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
- Kudzu (Peuraria lobata)
- Musk-thistle (Carduus nutans)
- Poison hemlock (Conium macalatum)
- Sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum)
- Hemlock wooly adelgid (Adelges tsugae)
- Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense)
- Gipsy moth (Lymantria dispar L.)
- Fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)
- Emerald ash borer (Agrilis planipennis)
This list was compiled by members of University of Kentucky's Invasive Species Working Group, and published in the Summer, 2007 edition (Volume 8, Number 2, page 11) of The Magazine, (College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40546)
It is noted at the bottom of the list that soybean rust is also an invasive species that causes a lot of trouble in Kentucky and all of the United States.
Emerald ash borer is certainly an imminent threat because it has been found very close to Kentucky borders, but according to, the UK's official emerald ash borer website, it has not yet been discovered in the commonwealth. This sad event will almost certainly occur -- but I don't think we're quite there yet. Monitoring for it is already taking a toll in resources, though.
The fungus that causes sudden oak death was not found in a 2006 Kentucky nursery survey, though other fungi in the same phylum were identified. We are at high risk for widespread damage from sudden oak death because of the species that make up many of our forests, most particularly red oak. Currently, we have a quarantine against all California-grown nursery stock.
In my own yard, I battle with Johnsongrass, Japanese honeysuckle, and Musk thistle. I have a personal understanding of why these invasive plants are a big problem wherever they grow. If I had written the list, I would have cited Bermudagrass also.