Tour Stop 52: Invasive Species
In a natural area like West 11th Street Park, there are limited resources for plants to grow. If one type of plant grows especially well, it will take resources from other plants that do not grow as well. Unfortunately, the very characteristics that make plants attractive to home gardeners—fast growing, resistant to pests, minimal care, disease-resistant—make non-native plants a danger to the natural habitat.
To hear the Wireless Wilderness Audio for: Stop #52
A classic example of invasion by a non-native species is the Chinese Tallow tree. It is a very fast-growing tree that is drought-resistant. Because of this, and because it has attractive red or yellow color in the fall, it has frequently been used for landscaping.
Animals, birds, and insects that eat other plants tend to avoid eating the Chinese Tallow. This contributes to the tree’s ability to spread rapidly. This brings up a second important reason to eliminate non-native species: living things within an ecosystem evolve together. The animals, birds, and insects that are accustomed to living with a native plant can be driven out if an exotic species takes the place of that plant.
Removing non-native species from West 11th Street Park is an ongoing project. In addition to Chinese Tallow, we make a special effort to control Chinese Privet, Waxleaf Ligustrum, Nandina, and Tree of Heaven, in addition to some other less common non-natives.