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Thoughts on Invasive Plants

Posted by wantonamara 8bTx (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 13, 12 at 16:49

The invasive issue never fails to raise hackles and it has again so , HERE GOES. I am outspoken about this and nothing will make me not be. I have seen the damage in the years that I have lived.

I inherited a piece of land with my sisters in Pennsylvania that use to have a large population of wild indian slippers on it (The kind advertised for $150 each) plus a dearth of other treasures. When I was young it was surrounded by woods and a few farms. Now it is surrounded by subdivisions and the 100' trees branches are breaking under the weight of Qinoa ackbea, cork screw vine and amur maples choking out the old trees. My sisters and I would meet there from all over the world to come and combat the weeds that had flown in with the birds from the new (now old) sub devisions.It was our chainsawing vacation. Wisteria and Jappanese bittersweetchoked my aunt's property. WE are talking about acres of sweet smelling wisteria. a site to behold in the spring but the trees are dying under the weight.

I plant natives because I live out with 1000 and 8 thousand acre ranches around me. My immediate neighbors have 40 and 80 acre spreads. No one is out there weeding with a fine toothed comb like you guys in the burbs. I would love to grow some Australian wattles but fear that they would become too happy and their seed making capabilities from that huge show of blossoms would come back to haunt me and my corner of Eden. We do not like handling massive amounts of roundup and Remedy and pouring poison on our land nor do our livestock like it also. Invassive plants are an issue and a huge head ache to us that cost us time and money. I bet you guys have never read the application rates for acreage spraying of poison.

We live in a world that is out of balance. The invassive plant list are chronological list of historical choices made years ago. Did the plant collector that brought in Multiflora rose or Poligonum cuspidatum have anything but the beautiful nature of them on their minds. Could they even imagine them destroying huge swaths of the Appalachians and northern mid west.. Further south we run into Kudzu and perennial morning glories that swallow other large swaths of land. Do I think these pretties should be made illegal,...you betcha. My grandparents and her generation planted Japanese bittersweet, wisteria,, My mothers generation planted wisteria, and Sweet Autumn clematis. and my generation are planting corkscrew vine, porcelain berry and quinoa ackbea in the north. In the south we have our own large morning glories, and fast growing trees, and spreading grasses.

If a plant makes the invasive plant list, the horse is already out of the barn. I rate all my plants for garden behavior. I am concerned about my Fennel, dill, and roman chamomile. After a wet winter, I am amazed at the down hill travel of the seed from my vegetable garden into my gorge that then travels through a gorgeous wilderness.. Dill and Fennel are everywhere, AND guess what, They are on the invasive plant list. I remember watching the fennel choked hills of washington state. and seeing the spanish broom spreading willy nilly. They are known for their wet winters.

A plant does not have to be illegal to plant or trade to be put on a invasive plant list. That is reserved for the worst offenders, usually water born pretties. IT IS A SUGGESTION and I am suggesting and educating here. I will continue to speak my mind about this. If you don't like it, well, I suggest rolling your eyes and saying , oh there goes Watanamara again because if you talk about planting an invassive , I will most likely suggest that you check your invasive plant list, and , YES, guilt trip you. Al is fair in love and gardening...

I don't know how I feel about the mandating issue. I dislike it and I like it. I agree we are a land of too many laws. Warning labels are not read,. Out spoken people bearing unwanted news are pressured into shutting up by bringing up the subject by their peers. Laws have gotten some of the very worst offenders out of the stores. Still many persist. New polygonums with similar regenerating tactics and not the bad reputation are sold in nurseries. If we don't talk about it how do you get to think about it. How do we learn to curb that urge to buy an unknown pretty thing, our drug of choice to an addicted gardener. You should talk to some biologist about this issue. It is an eye opener.

I am split about th making illegal. I am glad that they have listed water hyacinth. That one has a large fine and a jail sentence. I do not know if anyone has ever been jailed for selling it but one does not find it in your big box. One does find wisteria, chinese tallow, nandina in the stores. Austin has pressured the stores to not sell certain plants. It is hard to get people to act responsibly when people have the severe wants for something pretty.

I live on acreage now. I am fighting three thistles that were originally brought in as ornamentals to the country, a rose, four grasses ( one was brought in as an ornamental and has earned the reputation as the countries most maligned grass), three clovers (escaped from cover crop cultivation).
My grandfather fought scotch thistle over a 5,000 acre area (neighbors spreads also) while his wife planted bittersweet. The irony does not escape me. It is scotch thistle chopping time and clover spraying time for me now, the irony does not escape me that I am following in his footsteps..

I do ask you to be aware of the invasive plant list and THINK, THINK, THINK before you plant. and watch the behavior of your plants of the plants that you plant and yank them before they take over or escape. Unfortunately, you do not control the wind or the birds..

There's my rant and I am sticking to it.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Thoughts on Invasive Plants

Good thoughts, Wantonmara! I'm trying to only plant natives but have succumbed to a couple roses. And the veggies and herbs. Partly, ok a small part, it's due to not wanting to contribute to the problems of invasive plants. My house came with nandina hedges. I cannot afford to rip them out and replace them and don't want to rip them out only to stare at my neighbors' yards. I did get a crossvine from a plant swap last year...it's sitting in the middle of the yard in a pot with a trellis because I'm afraid to plant it on a fence. Part of me would love to replace the nandina on my side of the fence (one hedge) with mountain laurel, but I didn't think of it five years ago when I could have gotten seedlings from my parent's San Antonio yard (they WILL spread by seed, under the right circumstances) so that I could baby them in pots until they got large enough to plant by the fence...but even then, it's taken three years for the ones I DID get to grow large enough to be a "bush" in the front yard. They'd be fine to grow without fear of spreading up here, they've bloomed ONCE for me. Yet, they cover hillsides in the Hill Country.

I'm currently fighting bermuda because I want to plant other things where it thinks it should grow. I'd like to put in an ornamental grass, but your comment has me thinking twice. I THINK the only other invasive plants I have are weeds that I'm trying to control, St. Augustine, and horseherb...which I'm encouraging. It IS native and shouldn't be too difficult to remove if you don't want it. It's not spreading as fast as I'd like, anyway.

So, what's the rose and grasses that you're fighting?


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RE: Thoughts on Invasive Plants

I'll give up my nandinas when my cold, dead fingers are pried off them.


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Once in a while I wonder over to the "Name This Plant" forum. Today was one of those days and I'll tell you what -- I'm not planting Tansy! It's not really funny when you're trying to get rid of the stuff, but the thread linked below was written in a humorous manner so it did make me laugh.

There have been long threads on this and other forums on the subject of "What do you wish you'd never planted?" where we share our worst nightmares with trying to get rid of certain plants. But worse than trying to get rid of stuff like tall Mexican Petunia and Wanderin' Jew are foreign plants and animals that invade the environment, driving out native plants and animals totally changing the balance of nature. Most people just didn't know, but we can educate ourselves and weigh the risks from here on out. I have a friend who was warned against planting perennial morning glories, but they were so pretty she planted them anyway and now they are taking over her whole 20 acres. She says she'll never get rid of them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Yarrowish-looking 'thing' ... from hell. HELp


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Oh, oops, thanks Roselee! I do have some Wandering Jew...it's planted between the driveway and the house, completely surrounded by concrete, in a north-facing area that doesn't get a lot of water. It's spreading nicely, but slowly, there and I don't know what else to plant there that doesn't require any care! When I bought the house it was grass and a holly hedge up against the house. Ick.


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TX ag 95,I am fighting Multiflora rose (small patch), Johnston grass, Wheeping lovegrass (small splotch) KR bluestem, coastal Burmuda among other things like thistles, cedars that are out of balance..

There are many well behaved ornamental grasses and many good looking native grasses. The wheeping love grass is not one of them. Neither is johnston grass. I am in an area of Central Texas that is not friendly to lots of things. It is hard to be invassive in Central Texas. but just do your research. Cross vine is a native and fairly well behaved. I would classify it as a possible garden thug if overly happy, much easier to control than campsis radicans. I don't like that fear has entered the act of gardening. I have chosen Ruella and a couple of other things. I think I responded to thet thread that roselee mentioned. I notice that the Natural gardener Nursery got rid of their perenial morning glory that grew over their display arbor right at their entrance.. I planted it too,afterall, the nursery was growing it, and I ripped it out two years later. it was getting scary and I found a baby in the wild gorge downhill. That was it.

LOL Whitecaps.Nandinas are beautiful. Maybe there is some volunteer work that one can do at the local public green belt digging up some of the volunteer nandinas. A pennance for your nandina! LOL . I write that statement with irony and surrealistic humor. I hope you are not offended. oh God, what the world is coming to.Gardening as the original sin. I would love gardening to be a simple thing like it use to be.. I don't know if it is a problem where you are living but it is in the Austin Green belts. Nandina is one of the plants that the Mayor has pressured the stores not to carry. I worked on a volunteer crew in the parks trying to address it around Barton Creek. I enjoyed taking my gardening interest into the neighborhood. It was real gratifying but it might not be your cup of tea. At the time I had three nandinas. I tore them out i a couple of years later. To be honest , it was for other reasons. More design reasons.

I have a question. Why does this raise the ire of people so effectively. Strangers come between your garden and you and question your actions....How dare they. I have a right to grow anything I wish in my garden. It is my home and don't bother me. That is pretty primal stuff. Protect the Home and Hearth issues.individual rights issues. I think that every one who loves gardening is a an artist in that they want to create something that is beautiful and here comes someone who feels that it is important to control the choices in that creative endeavor It is akin to censorship.

I can't stand neighborhood nazi's, Yet here I am kinda acting like one or entertaining ideas that are definitly looking like control of the individual.. I have real ambivalent feelings about this. Can you tell? Yet I see this damage caused by escaped volunteers and I want something to change and I am not sure if it is possible to stop the clock or slow it down. So I just want to raise the issue.


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RE: Thoughts on Invasive Plants

Nope. Not convinced. Mostly because it sounded like you were really ragging on us evil suburbanites. You made it hard to feel sorry for you.

You knew you were going to raise hackles.


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Someone made this statement:

"The greatest service you can give to the world is to take responsibility for yourself, your relationships and your environment."

That's actually a lot to live up to, but we can try.


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I find this is what the gardeners I know already do, Roselee, and they do so because THEY are the responsible ones, not because someone else made them feel guilty about what appeals to them.


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Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata) can get pretty big but isn't invasive in most people's experience. It grows from a single spot, doesn't seem to reseed and doesn't send out runners. Great plant in my experience.

Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) is a whole nother story. Grows up through concrete floors and other really scary stuff. Not one you probably want in a suburban situation.

On the subject of nandinas, for a person that is conflicted about them, giving them a nice haircut right after they bloom prevents them from creating berries that birds eat and spread, so that makes them a little more of a win/win, since they are both pretty and very drought tolerant. Or if you don't mind missing the flowers, give them haircuts later in the year and like most spring blooming shrubs they'll have already set the buds and you can prevent them from blooming (as people often accidentally do when they don't know what to prune when :)

Teri


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Lynmarie, No I am not ragging on you as evil suburbanites nor need sympathy , Where did I say that?

They do not call this zone just outside the suburbs (including the exburbs)the "Wildland urban interface" for nothing. It is where things are getting really messed up in the flora between both Zones. I am not making this stuff up. They teach it in college biology classes and in Master naturalist classes. I am sorry that you take this personally and do not see the effect of your gardens on the woods around you and see this as personal affront.I am talking plants and issues about the distubution of seeds by birds, wind and rain. I am not talking about people and their evil ways.

I knew this would raise hackles because I have seen it happen before, but I still don't understand why .

I am not making this stuff up to guilt trip you , BUT if guilt will get one of you to crack the invasive plant list once a year and look at your garden and think about what happens to tasty berries when birds feed on them. Are those seeds and berries from natives or problematic exotics.Do you live on a hill and the seeds that get washed off your land sprout. If you do this , then my job is done. That is not much to ask.I am always surprised when I do this exercise myself and I don't always agree with all of the things mentioned. Yes, I have grown some invasives in my garden in the past and I have gotten in trouble and I have some in my vegetable garden now and I need to get their seedheads off before they bloom this year.

I forgot that fennel and wild parsnips was on the list. I need to go out and dig some of these up for dinner before they flower..
OK what plants do you have problems with control in your area escaping into the wild. Mostly johnston grass, fennel, crownvetch, thistles, and sweet clover here.

i am amazed when they list natives as invasive. like they list Osage orange tree. Does any one jave problems with it. Is it because it is out of balance like mountain ashe is out of balance here . Or Prickly pear is out of balance in some areas because of overgrazing and bad land management practices?


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RE: Thoughts on Yarrow.

I just read the link on the plant from hell. Wow , Well written, I am frightened. LOL.... It is going to give me nightmares now.


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A zeal for native plants seems occasionally to have resulted in certain non-native plants being condemnded as "invasive" without an adequate evidentiary basis. Objectivity is not furthered by the fact that removal of "invasives" has become a lucrative enterprise, lending itself to political patronage. The issue has become thoroughly politicized. We have "progressive," "politically correct" views on "climate change," health care, "illegal immigration," gun control and now, alongside them, gardening practices.


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Well said, whitecap .............what next?


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Whitecap, my thoughts exactly!

Jim


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Thank you Whitecap, for the discussion. I agree about the plants being condemned as invasive when not needed at times. Or blanket statements about areas where it is a problem. There is no one out removing them in my neck of the woods but the land owners and volunteers. Political correctness attitudes bother me also about the hinky science, forged documents, leaked emails that seems to be in climate change arguments. healthcare, gun control, illegal immigration are other subjects. This one subject is complicated enough with out getting into the cultural devide aspects of multiple subjects. I am here on my land trying to blunder through what is myth and what is real... because I have to act on it as a land steward.

What worries me most on the invasive species is monocultures and plants being out competed by invaders. and the lack of diversity on the fauna that live on the land. That seems to be a litmus test. For these reasons, I do not see lantana as a problem. The butterflies love it, and it seems to not make dense groves. I do see it in the wild but not thick. Is it only the beginning of a future problem? (Question to others, are there dense groves of it where you are) . I do not like KR Bluestem grass because of monoculture issues . Nothing seems to like that and it pushes out a lot of other species. My cows won't eat it either. BUT a doctor from Texas A & M says that it is a a good purveyor of water into the ground tables. And environmentalist do a disservice to the grass and it's uses. So , even there, I am left confused. A biologist that helps me with the land is of the other persuasion. Straddling the divide between the entrenched agricultural interest and the environmentalist is a confusing and awkward position.The damage of many corporate agricultural practices are self evident but I don't dismiss knowledge prior to investigation. That is what I am trying to do here.

The biologist blithly says that A hot grass fire in July will kill the KR. That sounds really scary to me. I am just wrapping my head around doing a grass fire in December. Wildland Urban Interface is known for fires. But burning the grass will remove the combustible dead thatch, but burning it in JulY! I don't know about that. Battling 8 acres of grass has me stumped and has me asking about other alternatives or priorities of importance.

I have a wildlife exemption and do a lot of land management practices and I find that some encouraged practices of clearing under brush is good for diversity of trees as long as one gets out their and cage the baies, but the much maligned Cedar tree is great at mothering small trees and some lucky ones make it through the crowd , but often then they grow stunted and diminished. If I clear, then the voracious deer come in and eat the holy hell out of every seedling that makes it above ground. I run around with cages in the cleared zones protecting trees and the ones that I protect grow well, sometimes. And sometimes a drought comes along and kills off all the protected baby trees and than I have to move the cages again. Playing mother nature's game of selection is a hit or miss proposition.

I was not as aware of the stresses on the land till I moved out here. It is interesting to see things change. Figuring what I need to be alarmed about and what I need to address with action is not always easy to figure out.

*note whitecap, a great deal more money is made out of corporate selling of nursery species. than those combatting thier escape. their are lobbyist an all sides. I know an environmental lobbyist and his suit is decidedly less expensive than the lobbyist representing traditional agricultural interest. I wonder who has the gov's ear. And I am on your side about the gung ho climate change argument. I see that as a way of manipulating us to be so overwhelmed with dealing with CO2 that we have to stop looking at true proven pollution problems.


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I hear you, but I think lumping nandina in with kudzu may be taking it a bit far. We've heard all about how nandina is running rampant through the Barton Creek Greenbelt. I've looked at the maps and aerial photos documenting where these plants were industriously grubbed up, and I have much reservation concerning the claims being made. We are given to understand that these plants got out of control through consumption of their berries by birds. The reasoning seems to be that birds like pretty berries, nandina berries are pretty, therefore.... The maps and photos seem consistent, by reference to roadways, with the thought that, on the contrary, these offending clumps have spread, slowly, from where they were established by the hand of man, at old homesites and recreational areas. A bigger issue is why they have failed to spread through other Central Texas waterways. I reside, in Bexar County, perhaps a hundred yards from a "greenbelt" that runs some three miles. The developers left it alone because it is, when it rains, an active waterway. There's always standing water in there somewhere, and it's well shaded. There are thousands of nandinas in the adjacent subdivision, but not one to be found along this "greenbelt." Lots of ligustrum, but no nandina. The same can be said for the Guadalupe and Colorado as far as one can go by boat from lakes Canyon and Travis. Only in "The City Where Weird Never Sleeps."

I've had stands of nandina for twenty years, and have never observed a bird eat one of the berries. The berries might appear to be delectable to birds, but they have a hard kernel just under the skin. I put out a large plate of them last year, in a recess frequented by birds. No takers. Frankly, trying to plant the thought that nandina berries can travel many, many miles overnight seems to me a scare tactic. I'm aware that at least one Austin blogger claims to have observed flocks of birds descend on stands of nandina and strip them of berries. I'm inclined to put this down as an instance of ecological zeal compromising sensory perception.


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I've never observed birds eating Nandina berries either. The berries turn brown on the bush. I have had very few nandinas seed out in the yard, probably a total of four or five through the 23 years I've been here and I have a lot of nandinas. There are no Nandinas at all in the green belts around my home where houses were removed because the creek flooding about 15 years ago. Some of the trees and shrubs planted around those homes have persisted, but no nandinas. It would be very interesting to know why they don't seem to spread in San Antonio, but have spread in Austin. I say this sincerely, not opposing anyones views or anything; just wondering what conditions are different. Perhaps in Austin they are in places so that water has washed them into the different areas if not birds. I think Austin gets more rain than S. A..That's probably the case with many exotics -- they spread in one environment, but not in another giving detractors room for disagreement. I do appreciate this thread because nature in all its expressions are interesting to me.


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I've been told, by a friend that used to live there, that Australia considers lantana to be an invasive species because it spreads everywhere. Personally, I've yet to see it spread in my yard, even by rooting branches. I've planted several different varieties in several different areas, and every year when I cut them back I have the same number of plants...at the most. I seem to have lost a few last year. Or my memory's not as good as I thought it was.


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RE: Thoughts on Invasive Plants

  • Posted by ocgf Z8 (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 14, 12 at 23:14

Wantonamara, thank you for being patient, respectful and non confrontational.

I think it definitely depends on certain conditions. I have had my purple loosestrife for about 10 years in a pot, in 2 states, and I had never had a volunteer. However, I gave a start to a friend in SA and she had to get rid of it because it was reseeding everywhere.

Tx Ag 95, I have had lantanas propagating all over my yard in Kyle.However, I have had a nandina for 5 years and I haven't seen the first volunteer yet.

With that said, I still think we should be free to choose the plants we want to grow while being responsible and conscious about it.

Omar


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I lived with Nandina for 25 years in Central Austin and I am not lumping it with Kudzu. I am very aware of levels of problems. I am interested in fleshing out some truth and your thoughts are definite food for thought. I saw a fair amount of it when I went grubbing for it. Maybe only weird people can see them. (LOL, Forgive this irreverent old time Austinite here. ) I did not have many volunteers in my yard, but I did see it in the greenbelt. Their is a lot less traffic and cleaning up in the green belt, so the layers of collected leaves might give what the seeds like to germinate in. I pulled about 5 volunteers a year from the few that I had in my yard. Everyone on my block had a Nandina. I pulled many more than that of Siberian elm that was a couple block away. I see that as a much bigger problem. It was a real headache. BUT if those 5 seedlings land in a Park green belt and succeed or half of them succeed year after year and no one is there to yank them, then we might have a problem. I would imagine the problem from chinaberry, ligustrum and siberian elm is a lot worse. I saw a mimosas way out here in my woods and no one has them growing around their house in a mile that I know of.

I am also wrestling with the idea that if the clock can't be turned back and if diversity is added by more species with more tasty berries , that birds prefer. Where's the beef? We admire the pure essence of the "hill Country " biome but is this a realistic goal to strive for. Do we then draw the line at species that cause environmental degradation. How does one define "harm" to environment . Are the introduced species behaving within the system or is it changing the system by causing degradation of water table, erosion of soil , leeching of soil, added salt, loss of diversity etc. I sometimes think that what we want is a static environment. It probably was a lot different 500 years ago.

I really think that they should beef up the information on these Invassive plant list. I would like to see a site that does keep up with the areas that plants are problematic and rate the degree of problem that the plant causes. I don't like that they

Omar, do you think that stores should be allowed to sell known hugely damaging plants like Kudzu and Water hyacinth, Purple loose strife? Do you think their acquisition should be at your finger tips? Again , it is a matter of degrees. And at what level does one make the choices. The Counties are charged with protecting health . Preservation of water ways, Acquifers, and environmental health ends up being a health issue. Should they decide if the stores are allowed to provide damaging plants?

There are sterile forms of Loostrife. Sounds like you have one.

Do you think that every gardener is a responsible gardener? My girlfreind puts in a garden and it is a mass of weeds come May. I am not sure she would be a good watch dog over a cellulose time bomb.

Here is an account of the spread of water hyacinth in Africa. Notice the section half down below the pictures of the flowering field. The spread of this pest was furthered by catholic missionaries that kept monastery gardens and a network of botanical gardens, fish hatcheries and museums. All these people are responsible people who are 'responsible' or at least partially culpable for creating a continent wide explosion of a south american species in Africa. I love history. The end of the article goes into the pro and cons of the effects on different cultures and modern uses for the plant. Comments are interesting. I have strayed off topic a bit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Water Hyacinth


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RE: Thoughts on Invasive Plants

The State of Texas can jail you for up to 180 days for peddling Water Hyacinth.


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I have seen people trade it or try to trade it online on this forum. I wonder if anyone has actually been incarcerated for peddling it. There is a good fine for it. A definite tiered system of actual response. If one clicks water hyacinth for sale, one will get a lot of hits coming up on the screen. It is a pretty thing and it is for sale, out there on the internet in many places so the ability to buy it is still there. But there is risk of owning it here and a huge risk to the water ways.

To bad we can't figure out how to make feed out of it or make it into a source of burnable biomas fuel.. In Tiawan they are making a powder out of it and adding it to plastic. Good to use it but then it becomes none biodegradable. at least it rots in its natural state. A plus and a con to everything.

It was always down on the end of one lake in New hampshire but it was a sickly patch...not invassive. Barely pretty. Nothing like what it is down on the coast.


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This is such a valuable discussion.

Here in my part of north San Antonio the nandina is simply not invasive. For whatever reason the birds do not eat the berries even while sitting on adjacent branches. Going by the mess they make with the beautyberries, birds don't get far before they "drop" the seed they do eat.

Almost every yard in my neighborhood has had nandina for more than 30 years and the creek/greenbelt has none that I have seen and I have been looking since I heard about this. I have found Lantana and 4 O'clocks in there, but so far they haven't crowded out any natives. My nandina is staying put.

Purple loosestrife is a serious problem in New England, it really does change the marshes and damage the ecosystem. It is so beautiful in masses, but so harmful too. In some states it is illegal to even have the seeds but it looks almost impossible to eradicate at this point.

Water hyacinth will be left out of my pond plans. There are less invasive options.


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I'm surprised and disappointed to confirm that attempted sales and swaps of Water Hyacinth have indeed been proposed on this very forum, some by frequent posters. The defiant attitude of some, after being duly educated, is most irksome. I can't post links, but Googling "txpw invasives" will take you to a site where violations of the invasive species law can be reported. I'm all for blowing the whistle on repeat offenders. Anyone who destroys good fishing waters needs to be in jail.


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Interesting viewpoints:

wantonamara says: "My girlfriend puts in a garden and it is a mass of weeds come May. I am not sure she would be a good watch dog over a cellulose time bomb." Sounds like maybe advocating that her weeding habits be monitored. Or maybe suggesting her gardening privileges being taken away. At least, if taken to its fullest conclusion.

Whitecap says: "A zeal for native plants seems occasionally to have resulted in certain non-native plants being condemnded as "invasive" without an adequate evidentiary basis. Objectivity is not furthered by the fact that removal of "invasives" has become a lucrative enterprise, lending itself to political patronage. The issue has become thoroughly politicized. We have "progressive," "politically correct" views on "climate change," health care, "illegal immigration," gun control and now, alongside them, gardening practices."

So the real issue seems to be "Who gets to decide what people plant or don't plant?" Is it going to be the most politically powerful or the loudest voice?

And then,there's this issue: "Who gets to decide which part of Texas land has restrictions on lantana, nandina, etc. and which areas have no restriction?" Either way, you'll have dissenters. And among the dissenters, who gets to decide who is being objective? Won't that decision be subjective -- according to political views?

We already have aesthetic restrictions put in place by HOAs that many are unhappy with. And we have all kinds of safety restrictions that we agree or disagree with, including such things as the temperature of coffee being served. We can take these restrictions too far or not far enough.

I guess the results will depend on who is willing to fight the fight. Who will make themselves heard or contribute money to the cause? And that's what wantonamara is doing. And that's what we all should do to achieve a balance. We already get hot over the threatened loss of the right to gun ownership. We're already battling for or against photo IDs for voting and sonagrams for en utero babies. Landscaping choices won't be far behind.

But that's okay. I'm just glad we have the right not to be silenced. I'm sure some of us would have marched for prohibition in the 1920s and others of us for the repeal of it in 1933. All I can say is go for it. And what a great country!


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A reasonably diligent effort to ascertain the relevant facts would be far preferable to gender-indecisive politicos leaning on people in the trade to offer only plants "approved" by certain activist groups.


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Whitcap2,

I'd like to buy you a beer!
If you don't drink, how about an iced tea? :)


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I have tried to stay out of this because my views are so much different from many of yours. But I was just picking my asparagus (approximately one quarter acre), and as I was doing so, this thread would not leave me alone. I hear how those BAD birds spread plants and if they do, we should not grow that plant. Birds eat and deposit my asparagus berries, and I have a neighbor (three acres away) who doesn't grow anything. Does he then have the right to tell me that I cannot grow a food supply because it is causing him a problem??? Do you really want this country to become one that will pit gardener against gardener .....neighbor against neighbor.....or do we want to reserve the right for each of us to express ourselves through what we grow and do it responsibly?? I am truly saddened that anyone would think it would be okay to lose our freedom in this manner. I will continue to grow that that pleases me, and I will remain responsible as I always have. Lou just hit the nail on the head with "who gets to decide?". Think about it.


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We definitely reserve the right for each of us to express ourselves through what we grow, and we do it responsibly! And as whitecap said, we demand "a reasonably diligent effort to ascertain the relevant facts". I think it's reasonable for us to check a government 'invasive plants' list, but I also think it's our responsibility to examine the data that put those plants on the list and find out who has a dog in that political or monetary fight.

But gardener to gardener, I'll listen to your concerns if you listen to mine. And bring the research with you.


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Realms of research for me..............I have had way more decided for me than I care to think about, and gardening has been my haven of escape............now it is under attack.


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I'll raise a Shiner to that, Melvalena.


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:) On me anytime you're in my area!


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I believe that determining what plants are invasive and not worthy of growing may be guided by governmental studies and suggestions, but part of the dilemma is that "one man's trash is another man's treasure". Plants perform differently under different growing conditions and the list of undesirables would frequently be unreliable. It is impossible to legislate or regulate common sense and knowledge cannot be "bestowed" on a gardener, nor can any transgression be enforced. Unfortunately, common sense and studied decisions cannot be legislated nor regulated.
Molly


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I just wish someone at TXDOT would figure out how to get rid of all the b@stard cabbages that are taking over our roadways and crowding out the bluebonnets. Would Would Lady Bird Do?


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Molly, I agree with you that one mans trash is anothers treasure. I have the purple passion vine at the coast. I don't think I have a person comes by that doesn't want it. It grew into my trees last year, it was a beautiful display. I had to pull it all down before it killed my oak and palm trees. I finally dug up the vine that was causing the problem, Roselee took it home with her. Barbra


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It would really help that the road crews stop using Wild flower seeed mixes that are infected with it to reseed wher thy have just worked. That is what has happened on Hamilton pool rd and 71. The B@stard cabbages is every where the road crews have just worked. It is a brand new plant out here.

I saw a mother and her to sweet tow headed sprouts posing in amongst the b@astaard cabbage. The trash mouthed cynic in me wanted to pull over and yell that Her sweeties were in with the B@astards, but I really didn't think my humor would be appreciated so I practiced a well lerned tactic of "restraint of tongue" and drove on.

Lady bird johston would mow, mow mow till they didn't reapper. This one makes dandelions in your yard look manageable. It is pretty in mass but I like blue bonnets and paintbrushes so much better. They are anuals so if one keeps mowing, theoretically theseeds will play out one year. It will take a while. Because those seeds last for a good while.
Again something easy to do if you have a small lot but harder to do when it is a a long stretch of road easment and adjacent land on a ranch. I know one lady , who is newly widowed and she has been "gifted" by a 1/4 mile of b@stard cabbbage and she has not had the equipment and time to deel with this. One has to mow more than once a season. Otherwise it is doucing large swaths with poison and that gets rid of everything

i don't think this plant is anyones treasure. It is definitely on the the lists both the official texas list and the non official lists of up and comers. I wanted to mention that there are more than one list of invasive plants to contend with. a list stating what are very problematic put out by the state and ones that are put out by affiliated organizations that is more all inclusive and I think it is this one that get peoples ire up.


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I think the closer we live to the tropics the closer we live to the "JUNGLE" and the more aware and causious we have to be of vines. But I shold take that back, wisteria has no respect even for the cold. They just love those trees. And Sweet autumn clemantis loves seeding itself everywhere in the midwest, but I don't see not one seedling off of mine. In Hawaii I saw split leafed philodendron swallow 2 palms in one summer before I tackled them. Ladders and machetes with murder in my heart.

Vines are not for the faint of heart and some can be down right scary. Handle with caution. I remember my niece planting a wisteria every 2 feet on her porch edge (AS THE NURSERY GUY RECOMMENDED) and she would not listen to my advice that was carefully given in a non confrontational manner. She called back in 2 years and told me she had pulled every one out but the one on the far outside corner, just as I had advised and she was thinking of tearing that one out and getting the native wisteria. I reframed from the I told you so, but I can't deny thinking it.. We had talked about the native one but it had cost more.


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Wild cabbage? Now there's a worthy project for our urban cadres of deserving youth.


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If I had more time on my hands, I would start a Meetup group just for people who want to get them off the roadsides. We could adopt some highways!


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I went to my meeting house this morning, and I had not been there for awhile. There was b@stard Cabbage, starthistle , scotch thistle and crownvetch EVERYWHERE. It was awful. But someone had brought over their large riding mower and did all5 acres. I weedeated the rock walls and got a bunch of BC's. I did not bring my gloves ...oh well. I did stop on the way on 12 and Hamilton pool rd and pulled 2 SMALL patches. It is the year for every seed in years that has landed on this soil to sprout. I am at home wailing at dollar weed and crownvetch this afternoon. It has been a whole day affair.

If you want to meetup with me for a couple hours yanking and grubbing.,... you are on!! Coffee at my house. That stuff is gettting ready to go to seed so now is the time.


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Where did it come from all of a sudden? The fields around my house are covered with those yellow flowers and I never saw it around here before. The seeds must have blown in with the wind last summer.


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Nandina is all over greenbelts in Austin. If you haven't seen it, it's because you haven't gone there. All over. It's disgusting and killing our natives. Just plant the non-berry varieties if you love it so much. It's killing our beautiful parks.


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"But just to complicate the issue even further, the former president of the Florida Native Plant Society has written publicly that Nandina was designated as invasive in Florida by the very group who benefitted from doing so (by receiving funds for its removal). He disagreed with that designation and quit the society in protest." (Sustainable Gardening Blog). Such conflicts render "anecdotal evidence" of minimal value, particularly as to the issue of causation. But tell you what, Austinites: You think you have a problem, you have my leave to handle it any way you see fit.


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People who are out there working on the land are the ones that see the problem. If they get paid for it, does notneccesarily mean hat they are bad for knowing about the problem and the problem should be dismissed. Maybe it calls for a second opinion.. It is complicated. the biologist that helps me with my wildlife exemption , also has a part of his business that helps the land owner comply. He knows a lot and his knowledge is of the quality that I pay for it. I do not see that he has cross purposes and question his knowledge. Life is complicated . Isn't it.


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Your more progressive Austin gardeners, those who view themselves as the cutting edge of social responsibility, have also uprooted their waxleaf ligustrums, as a threat to the environment as we know it. Japanese ligustrum I can understand, but waxleaf? Well, they can do as they please with their own shrubs. I just wish they wouldn't present their backs to be patted so often.


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I get it, You don't like Austin or Austinites . I also get that if nandina was not a problem in someplace, Then those guys that were going to make beou coup bucks removing it would not have a lot of work to do before theywere no longer needed. Here it is the over worked/under paid park staff and volunteers that care of the Green belt and if we slap each others backs over a job well done. Well, so be it. No one is out their making a ton of money. Not here anyway.


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I speak as a reformed Austinite.


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This is tangentially related although not on the topic of invasives -- rather, on the subject of who gets to decide and how much government control should be allowed:

A New Hampshire lady has racked up $6,000 in fines for planting flowers in her front yard. She finally was so miserable that she wanted to sell her condo. That's when she discovered the association had put a lien on it for the fines.

The assoc. insists that all the units look EXACTLY the same even though the bylaws do not expressly forbid planting flowers nor do they explicitly allow it. Local government gone amok? What's next?

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/03/19/nh-woman-sued-for-planting-flowers-in-her-front-yard/


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That is development by Developer. I will not live in an area with a HOA


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As a gardener and a student of ecology, this topic is really personal to me. What I've learned is that native climax ecosystems can actually be fairly resistant to invasion by exotics so long as their natural process are intact (as in fire, grazing, flooding, etc.) and they are not heavily disturbed (as in plowing, logging, overgrazing, road-building, etc.).

Since we'll never be able to stop folks from growing invasive plants or completely get rid of what invasive are out there it makes more sense to me to manage our natural areas (and rural properties) to be as resistant/resilient as possible to invasion, primarily by restoring natural fire and flooding regimes and reducing/being smart about disturbance (seems backwards, like treating the symptoms and not the cause, but exotics are here to stay).

For example, as I think most of us are aware, Chinese tallow is a really bad invasive tree in coastal prairie and can completely change the structure of the plant community there, but it's fairly simple (and cheap) to manage if you just burn your property on a regular basis before it gets totally converted to a woodland. The same is true for virtually all exotic (and native) invasive woody plants in our grasslands and savannas (including pine savannas here in East Texas).

Anyway, I think the bigger issue is that we have not been managing our natural/rural areas properly and it is only getting harder as more and more people continue to move out to the country. Just my take.


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Some think that Managing and Natural area is almost a oxymoron. As one of those people with a 80' deep gorge in the back of my property that is choked with cedar that is out of balance, and the deer are out of balance and the coons are out of balance.I pile brush around seedlings and cage trees that have lasted a couple of years so the deer won't eat them. A lot of work. I take care of this piece and fire is hard because people do live around and a fire in my gorge can jump into my neighbors and his million dollar palace perched on the edge. I am just wrapping my head around burning the grass on the flat front, but back here , fear strikes deep in my heart when you say fire.

I have been back there protecting madrones, escarpment black cherries, red oaks and thinning out the small cedar. I am bleeding from a million cuts. I had a bunch to burn in the tank and the winds have died now but they were 30 MPH. It is a commitment and not easy. not for me anyway.

I am stilll thinking about what they call a HOT burn to rid myself of KR Bluestem. Burning in July is another thing that I find problematic.

I am wandering, rambling...Dead beat. What was the topic?


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Texasflip & Wanton, you both have very valid ideas. I know that our native plants in their native areas survived semi-regular "wildfires" and possibly thrived because of them. But, with people moving out into the "country", wildfire is a demon to be controlled. I understand, I'm afraid of wildfires, I live on a city lot that 40 years ago was prime dove-hunting land. At least, that's what my old (San Antonio) dentist has said.

Maybe we need to look at what we're doing to our environment by exponentially expanding the cities' suburbs and exurbs. I know San Antonio and Dallas keep expanding "north", typically by clear-cutting the area and leveling it out to provide "clean" lots for the new houses. Because it's cheaper to buy new houses further out of town than to by existing houses with older trees...but then they also have older houses that don't have as much space and "extras". But, they could be remodeled....

It's a difficult conundrum. And probably one that requires a major shift in thinking for the majority of people.


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The business of developing likes to go out far,because they go till they are outside the ETJ of a city and they don't need to obey rules. Counties are notoriously weak in what powers of control of codes, impervious cover, grading, or zoning. Its a mess and developers love it. Another topic.


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LOL, sorry to get ya'll off topic. Wantonamara, I have to applaud your efforts (not that my opinion means much). I've never even seen a madrone in Texas before (seen them out west). I can't blame you on the fire thing. I've seen people around here in residential areas along the highways burn pockets of woods around their property, but it's probably a little easier to control here in East Texas.


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Just a thought on the yellow flowered wild mustard and how it seemed to have spread all over in one season: I bet it was spread by the blades of mowers. The city mows the fields around here. It wasn't here last year. Of course the rains early this year helped it.

Speaking of Texas Madrone; they also grow in and around Bandara county. I used to see them on the deer lease up there and marveled at their beauty. There would just be a single tree here and there. I never noticed any seedlings, although there might have been some growing beneath 'cedar' trees which acts as a nurse tree.


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every hundred years or so we just flood the island with 4-15` of salt water. Kills off everything.

HAPPY SPRING!
Tally HO!


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An interesting thread for sure.

I am looking over our relatively expensive terraced beds that the deer and the drought made empty last year (well, except the one with native lantanas).

I am sort of wishing something would invade my spaces. Not entirely kidding here. We tried vinca once but the deer got hungry enough for it before it spread 2".

Different strokes.


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Isn't that called a hurricane? Beachplant

The strata that madrones grow in has to be fairly new limestone so the hills need to be high. They don't grow in the layers down by the rivers.. Around here they grow on Walnut limestone and not Cow creek limestone. They are real picky about the brew of microbes in the soil. I have 20 - 30 on my land. But most are small. The land used to be grazed by cows and all were none existent or tiny when I arrived.

How are the Chinese Tallow when they burn. "tallow" makes me think hot. Cedars are short but they are like a torch on a stick. There is a certain sparsity in some ares of the trees, unlike the pines of east Texas, but as we saw last summer, It can get going.. Burning grass and even grass with small woodland is different from burning woodland and forest.

Roselee,About B@stasd cabbage; If the county's are mowing, maybe they are seeding and using a cheap seed mix that is infected with them. I think that the rains were so well timed this winter that every seed is erupting. I think that on most years, we might be a bit too dry for it on this side of IH 35. I see it all the time East of Austin where the soil gets richer, but when one gets into the hill country, it usually dies out . That was until this year.

hddana, Sorry abput your beds. Many of my natives died because I never water. My madrone right by my back entrance almost died but it is floweringright now and I see some baby trees, My beds were empty but the natives are all sprouting from seed they they left behind. They are in a period of rejuvenation. so I need to replace some rosemary and some mexican salvias. I here you about the deer. Sounds like a good subject for a thread.


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A hurricane! Whatever works lol! It did have the pleasant effect of killing chinese tallow trees all over the area. I don't really recommend it though.
I do have the advantage of not being so worried about invasive plants, whatever escapes our yard has to survive a salt water journey anywhere. Not much likes the salt water.
I think that as gardeners we have a duty not to plant things that are environmentally devastating. Asparagus is not known for taking over hundreds of acres like kudzu or purple loosestrive (I think that's how it's spelled). If my angel trumpets were to go crazy and take over all the yards in my neighborhood then I would reconsider growing them.
Tally HO!


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Several mentioned above that they have never seen birds eat their nandina berries, and I'd had the same experience until last weekend. I "caught" a flock of cedar waxwings devouring my nandina berries - took them about 30 minutes, but they stripped it clean. I guess they've always come thru, but not when I've been around to notice. Not that I'm going to burn the nandina because of it. I just won't plant any more berry producing ones when this one finally gets so unruley that I have to replace it with something a little more mild mannered. It's old, and it is spreading by underground roots like you wouldn't believe. I love it, but hate trying to keep it in bounds.


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Would you believe that holly fern, photinia, waxleaf, vitex and pyracantha have been solemnly recorded on the Texas Invasives list, alongside johnson grass, kudzu and poison ivy? Thank goodness for the legions of "citizen scientists" who so vigilantly stand guard on our botanical frontiers.


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Holly Fern!!!!???? Hmmm, me thinks someone has misidentified something.


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Yes, I, for one, am thankful for "citizen scientist" who take time out of their lives to catalog observations and eradicate these plants off of public lands.

This list is not the LEGAL list. That one has far fewer plants on it. It is a Data bank that is used by organizations for different reasons, education being only one. It is used as a guide for management of public lands. For people like you , it is meant as eduction about the effect of some garden plants in the wild. I think it is a list to help us manage the horse after it is out of the barn but before it has rampaged all over. There are several invasive plant list. All with different purposes. Yes I wish they were more inclusive about information of what plant is problematic in what areas and to what degree. Their descriptions are lacking in detail. Bt it is a start.

I found it interesting that when one perused the lists in the database of the plants that the Scientist corps found, they noted if the plant was abundant or rare, and the action that they took among other facts like location, . The Nandina that was found West of San Antonio bared what you said out. It was in a private garden on the edge of the private lands and Nadina was "rare" in their travels. They did eradicate other plants. So this cataloging of invasives will tell people what is problematic where. Maybe this list will be used to gage actual degree of threat and non threat. And things might , one day be taken off of it. This allows the organization to get a handle on the actual size and degree of the problem, No harm in that.

This list is a "suggestion" that people be aware. It is not a list where they will be knocking on your door to dig out your nandina and haul you off to jail.

I have found pyracantha in my gorge. Only one. I think the source are some plants planted a mile away. I uprooted the one (2 foot plant). I would not call it invassive, but because of the list, the woman who has it planted, is watchful over it and her 400 acres that she rents out for photo retreats.

Maybe Holy Fern is invasive in some glen in East Texas some place. Texas is a big state. I can't imagine any fern being able to survive with out watering except for the Chelanthes family and even that struggles.


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The examples I mentioned came from the "Invasives" list for San Antonio, Texas and, yes, it did include nandina.

Surprised they included photinia, since the same people have been assuring us, for some 20 years now, that it dies as soon as it's stuck in the ground.


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And as for the thought that "Texas natives" demonstrated their superiority during the recent drought, my aspidistra, crape myrtles, purple heart, Blue Shade, nandina and elaeagnus are asking "What is this 'drought' of which you speak?"


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I have found Japanese holly fern growing wild alongside native ferns in Central Texas and in East Texas in fairly isolated places. I have also found pyracantha, as well as Bradford pear, coming up in pastures on the coast where I grew up. Also, poison ivy is native.

Some exotics are "invasive" but don't really do much harm. Some natives are considered "invasive" if they are expanding their range or increasing compared to their historic levels. Like coyotes in the east.


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Aquatic Invasives! RE: Thoughts on Invasive Plants

WOW! Nothing explodes like a discussion on invasive plants, sometimes invasive vs. native plants! Some years back I took a class on invasive plants in Texas and became a "citizen scientist". See http://www.texasinvasives.org/plant_database/index.php. While I found the class to be very informative, I'm not one to go out and report every single invasive that I see. I'm not going to be a plant policeman! LOL! I do try to plant a lot of natives, but not exclusively natives. I have lots of other plants that I find to be very nice. And yes, I'm aware that many plants can spread via birds, wildlife, insects and wind. I don't plant Kudzu though. After living in north Florida and seeing it devour houses, trees, etc. that stuff scares me to death!

However, one thing that really concerns me the most is all of the aquatic invasives, both plants and animals. I posted this thread on the Aquatic Plant Exchange forum. It caused quite a stink to say the least. I just wanted people to be aware of the Texas laws regarding aquatic invasive. Check out You might want to know what is illegal before you trade. Here is an article that I wrote on the Rockport Herbies Blog about HALT AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES.


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Good article, Itcolllins. I found the poster lacking who asked her trader to check if it was legal in the traders state. Maybe she should check also because they are both breaking the law if it is illegal. Classic denial of responsibility.I think they call it passing the buck. I think we all share responsibility when we trade not to spread bugs in out dirt, invasives, noxious weeds...you name it .

OH, and thank you for being a citizen scientist and putting yourself forward to be the target of denigration. I do like the company.

Off to decimate a patch of yellow star thistle, a noxious weed/ invasive with equine nerve toxin in it.


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Now, look: when you stride forward as champion of a "cause," clashing spear against shield and uttering warlike cries, you may not always be greeted with the deference you think you deserve.


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"I think we all share responsibility when we trade not to spread bugs in out dirt, invasives, noxious weeds...you name it ."

So when you attend a plant swap, do you take all of your plants bare-root and sanitized? Or have you bare-rooted them, replanted them in sterile potting mix, watered them with purified water, and kept them in a sterile room till the plant swap? Because otherwise you are spreading your bugs, virus, fungi, and diseases. It is inevitable. So you'd better outlaw plant swaps because they'll spread bugs!!! And maybe weed seeds! (oh my)

I really think that nature is a lot more robust than you credit her.


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She is much more robust, Lin, and has been doing fine for how long now without the help of all these "helpful" folks who like to tell the rest of us what to do?? I do not do any of that to the plants I swap.......I dig them, pot them, trade them.............the rest is up to you. I will tell you if they have been mildly invasive where I have them growing, but after that, you are on your own. I hold no one responsible for the plants I bring home from a plant swap...........I understand the plan.


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repeat after me "in deference to future generations i will never plant 4 o'clocks"

11 years later, i'm not sure i've even made a dent in them


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LOL..I had experience at my old house digging up 4 oclocks. I think I got a 4'root that was shaped like fat legs of a man. I had three huge plants like that and a multitude of babies. I kept at it and finally succeeded. There are some nice native 4 o'clocks that are better behaved.

I am sitting here wondering about Salvia chiquita. It is new in the trade (8 years or so) and in my yard, I am starting to think it is enterely TOO Happy. THousands of seedlings this year.Years ago, I was unaware of the invasive list when I planted ruella ( maybe it was not on it yet) at my old house and same with the tahitian bridal veil. they both took over good. I whish I had known that there was a list to get information from 30 years ago. I think I would have made some different decisions. I sold that house. I weeded it to peices before I left but I went back and yes it is back.I am a lot more careful now. I am taking the salvia to a plant swap with warnings to keep an eye on it. It is not on the list, but is it only a matter of time I am afraid. Maybe people in clay will have a different experience. I backed the salvia off away from the slope...Same with the Roman Chamomile. I am looking sideways at both now and feeling maybe this is the year that I start yanking. I googled for info on the net and I have not seen the salvia mentioned. I do know that California has problems with some invasive salvias. They have the wet winter dry summer rythm. It seeds out in dry winters and wet winters, just a lot more on wet winters.

If there is someone out there that has experience with this in the central Texas canyon land area and has some thoughts about the seeding habits of these plants.


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RE: Thoughts on Invasive Plants

This was a fun post to read! Lots of opinions!

Having worked as a field biologist in both Florida and Texas I've seen the gamut of invasive species, sometimes in remote areas away from residences that you wouldn't expect to find things like nandina or ligustrums. Yet, they are there. I definitely appreciated the perspective of the guy from Nacogdoches.

With the amount of money being spent with tax payer money in various agencies from county to federal to remove these species from natural areas, wouldn't it be plausible to just think twice about planting species that do have the potential to be invasive? Everyone likes to continue the rant about 'it's not invasive in my yard'---without looking at where seeds may be carried by birds or wind outside of their yard.

And it is definitely important to consider how large the state of Texas is and the varying eco-regions. Yes, some plants in the western part may not be invasive but in east Texas they are, and vice-versa.

I'm including a link from the Florida Native Plant Society that was recently posted regarding aggressive vs. invasive.

Interesting discussion folks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Invasive vs. Aggressive: They are not the same


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