|RETURN TO ARCHIVES|
Happy New Year to my Fellow Master Naturalists!
By now, the stress of the Holidays should be subsiding, we've had our fill of Bowl Games and are ready to face the New Year. This month, I'd like to focus on a quiet, but insidious problem in our world. If your list of New Year's Resolutions is not complete, please add one more.
"They're like the house guests who won't leave - putting their feet on the furniture, eating everything in sight." Invasive, exotic, "non-native plants are making themselves right at home around the world. Free of pests and other controlling conditions in their natural environments, [these] species flourish. They choke out native plants, destroy animal habitat and can even alter soil chemistry. Invasive, exotic "non-native species are the second greatest threat to the environment, following development. In the U.S. alone, invasives consume an estimated 4,600 acres of land each day."
"WHAT YOU CAN DO…
"Prevention: The best option is to avoid introducing invasive plants to an area. Many nurseries still carry troublesome species such as Privet or Japanese Honeysuckle. Avoid buying these types of plants for your yard. Instead, ask your nursery for native species that offer similar landscape benefits." For information on what plants are considered invasive, please check the following web sites: http://nature.org/initiatives/invasivespecies/features/index.html, http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu and www.nps.gov/plants/alien/. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center devoted an entire issue (Volume 18, Number 4) of its magazine, Native Plants, to the topic of Invasive Species. If you want more information, see me for a copy.
- If you already have non-native plants on your property, the preferred strategy is to remove them. This is especially true if the property borders wild lands or waterways that could become infested. Plants should be removed completely, including the roots. Alternatively, cut plants back to the ground and treat the roots with an eco-friendly herbicide to keep the plant from regenerating."
- Volunteer at a Park of Refuge to remove invasive plants. Some opportunities for Cross Timbers members include the Stella Rowan Prairie (contact Jeff Quayle), the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge (contact Suzanne Tuttle), the Cedar Hill State Park (contact John Davis), and Arlington City Parks (contact Candace Schwartz or Molly Hollar).
Good luck and Welcome to 2003!
Credits: Fall 2002 issue of Conversation Across the Commonwealth, issued by the Massachusetts Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.