Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's the Big Deal About Invasives?

Mimosa at left is an invasive. In this area usually in yards or along waterways. Very invasive in the wetter climate to the east. This photo was taken along the Chat Trail in Lake Wichita Park.
This summer my husband has been working diligently to remove a number of shrubs and vines around our house. In his mind he has been working to take out some unsightly plants I wanted to get rid of to make way for something that looks nicer. My real motive was to get rid of non-native invasive plant species to make way for native species more hospitable for native birds and butterflies. An added plus is that the area will look nicer.
We plan to plant some new plants now that fall is here. Fall is the perfect time to plant shrubs and we'll be heading to Wichita Valley Nursery as soon as he finishes getting rid of the English ivy. I haven't told him yet that there is at least one tree that has to go as well.
Why the big deal about invasive plants? First of all they can drive out native plants (think kudzu in the east.) Secondly, invasives support far fewer native insects, birds and other wildlife than our native species do. If you get a chance, read Douglas W. Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens. The book is easy to read, has lots of pictures and plenty of ideas for good plants to put into your home landscape to encourage butterflies, pollinators and birds to visit and stay in your yard.
If you want to know more about invasives in Texas, see Texas Invasives.

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