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Austin Landscaping Tips: A Quick Lesson on Invasive Plants and Trees

published on May 20, 2013

invasive plants austinWhile 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:

  1. LEARN: Learn to identify invasive Austin-area plants and trees.
  2. REMOVE: Remove invasive plants on your property, or proactively prevent seed/pollen production. Use herbicides carefully and as a last resort.
  3. REPLACE: Find non-invasive alternatives for existing species, and choose non-invasive native plants when it comes to new landscaping.
  4. PREVENT: If a property borders a natural area, consider using only native plants, trees, and grasses in landscaping to prevent cross-contamination.
  5. 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!

austin invasive home plantsThe 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

landscaping austin invasive plantsPaper 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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