Austin Landscaping Tips: A Quick Lesson on Invasive Plants and Trees
published on May 20, 2013
While that towering Chinese Tallow Tree or shady grove of Ligustrum beside that new Travis Country home may appear gorgeous at first glance, the hundreds of thousands of invasive seeds that will drop and rapidly grow into new trees over the next decade won’t make future landscaping maintenance, or Austin greenbelts, very pretty.
Just as the invulnerable clownfish threatens to take over U.S. coral reefs, these and dozens of other invasive plants species pose a big threat to natural ecosystems on land. Why?
The USDA defines invasive plants as species with five very pernicious qualities:
PROLIFIC: Produce large numbers of new seedlings each season
PERVASIVE: Spread easily by wind, water, or animals
FAST-GROWING: Grow rapidly, outpacing other species
ADAPTIVE: Tolerate many weather conditions and soil types
UNRESTRAINED: Free of natural predators
These qualities are what give invasive species the power to do more harm than good when it comes to greening up Austin neighborhoods and greenbelts. Peerless and unassailable, they spread rapidly across new habitats, crowding out native plants, ultimately reducing biodiversity and taking over entire ecosystems.
What can you do to help? Whether your Austin home is Southwest, Central, or East, here are five ways you can help protect our city:
- LEARN: Learn to identify invasive Austin-area plants and trees.
- REMOVE: Remove invasive plants on your property, or proactively prevent seed/pollen production. Use herbicides carefully and as a last resort.
- REPLACE: Find non-invasive alternatives for existing species, and choose non-invasive native plants when it comes to new landscaping.
- PREVENT: If a property borders a natural area, consider using only native plants, trees, and grasses in landscaping to prevent cross-contamination.
- TEACH: Help others in your neighborhood understand the importance of avoiding invasive plants and trees.
Removing invasive plants and trees from around homes in Circle C and other Austin neighborhoods, and avoiding invasive species in landscaping will help protect the delicate balance of Austin’s natural ecosystems. Scroll down for an alphabetical list of the Austin-area’s most invasive plants!
The Austin REALTORS® at Regent Property Group believe in protecting Austin’s native beauty, and sharing tips that make a difference. We also want to make a difference in your Austin home-buying experience. Searching for a luxury home in Austin? Our real estate experts will help you stay on top of the Austin market.
Chinaberry, Melia azedarach
Chinese Parasol Tree, Firmiana simplex
Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinessis
Chinese Tallow, Sapium sebiferum
Common Privet Ligustrum, sinense/L.vulgare
Common Water Hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes
Elephant Ear, Alocasia spp, Colocasia spp.
Eurasian Watermilfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum
Giant Cane, Arundo donax
Holly Fern, Cyrtomium falcatum
Hydrilla, Hydrilla verticillata
Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica
Johnson Grass, Sorghum halepense
Kudzu, Pueraria lobata
Mimosa Silk Tree, Albizia julbrissin
Nandina, Nandina domestica
Paper Mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera
Photinia, Photinia spp.
Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans
Pyracantha, Pyracantha spp.
Running Bamboo, Phyllostachys aurea
Russian Olive, Eleagnus angustifolia
Tamarisk (Salt Cedar), Tamarix spp.
Tree of Heaven, Ailianthus altissima
Vitex, Vitex agnus-castus
Waxleaf Ligustrum, Ligustrum japonicum
White Mulberry, Morus alba
Wisteria, Wisteria sinensis/W.floribunda
To learn more, visit your local Texas AgriLife Extension Service, or read more at the City of Austin’s Invasive Plants Management Webpage!
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