What’s So Bad About Invasive Plants?

As my colleague Lara pointed out on February 15th, this week is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. We’ll be teaching many classes (schedule at link above) around Pinellas County to help you learn about invasive plants.

So why are invasive plants bad?

Invasive Melaleuca

Melaleuca forms a monoculture.

Invasive plant species displace native vegetation by out-competing native species. Without the limiting factors that normally keep invasive plants under control in their native homes, such as disease, insects, fire, etc.,  they overwhelm existing native vegetation to form dense, single-species stands that dominate and alter the original community.

And why should you care about this?

  • Florida’s biodiversity is destroyed, with the possibility of some native plant species being permanently eliminated.
  • The animals that use those native plants for food and habitat can’t make use of the invasives, which results in pressure on those native animal species.
  • Recreational activities can be limited or impossible in areas overtaken with invasive exotic plants.
  • It costs billions of dollars to control invasive exotic plants, and it is usually very difficult to eradicate them completely

So what can you do to help?

Educate yourself on the common invasive species in our area. And if you happen to have any in your landscape, remove them as soon as you are able to do so.

Some common invasives in our area to look out for are found below:

Brazilian Pepper

Invasive Brazilian Pepper

Melaleuca

Invasive Melaleuca

Chinese Tallow

Invasive Chinese Tallow

Camphor

Invasive Camphor

Australian Pine

Invasive Australian Pine

Heavenly Bamboo

Invasive Heavenly Bamboo

Mexican Petunia

Invasive Mexican Petunia

Wedelia

Invasive Wedelia

Please join us this week at one of our classes this week to learn more about invasive plants and how you can help!