Invasive Exotics in Your Landscape

From area resident Suzan Rowe: Did you know that many commonly-used landscape plants are invasive species? An exotic plant is one that is planted outside its natural habitat. While many of these plants are not a problem, some become invasive due to lack of the natural enemies that would otherwise keep them in check. These plants reproduce quickly, displace many of the other species in their domain, and are difficult to eradicate.

Not only can infestations of exotic plants destroy our natural biodiversity, permanently eliminate native plants, and deprive wildlife of food and habitat, they also interfere with navigation, recreation, power generation, water supply, production on agricultural and range lands, and create public health and safely hazards. Landscape plantings and gardens can quickly be overtaken. Some exotics produce chemicals or cause allergic reactions that may harm humans, while others create fire hazards.

The direct monetary costs of attempting to control and alleviate the negative effects of these infestations run into hundreds of millions of dollars annually in the US. These costs are borne by the taxpayers – that means you & me. In addition, the value of our homes can be decreased when invasive species destroy mature trees or overtake vacant lots and wooded areas in the neighborhood.

Some of the most troublesome species in our area are Mimosa, Tree of Heaven, Chinese Privet, Japanese Honeysuckle, Autumn Olive, Chinese Wisteria, Kudzu and English Ivy. If you take a walk around the neighborhood or down the SPC trail this week, notice how frequently you see these plants and how they impact the surrounding vegetation. You might be surprised at the severity of the problem.

Following are links to sites that will help with identification and provide more information. In coming issues, we will present techniques to eradicate these invasive plants and suggest native plants alternatives that you can use in your landscape.

One Response to Invasive Exotics in Your Landscape

  1. Zane Dyer says:

    Hi nnice reading your blog

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