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3 Invasive Species to Look Out For

3 Invasive Species to Look Out For

With the amount of shipping and cargo the United States receives on a daily basis, we are constantly introducing new species into our ecosystem. There have been quite a few species of bugs, plants, and even products that have a negative impact on trees and the general vegetation in our yards. While some of these species are secluded to certain portions of the country, others are more widespread and have a broader impact. Here are just three that you need to look out for on your trees and other plants

Invasive Species in Alabama

Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) 


Photo from Flickr! user Stanlon Mercy


This invasive weed is native to China and was introduced into the South from the 1930s to 1950s. It’s main purpose was for forage and erosion control, but from the start, it was difficult to contain.  This perennial vine is known to some as the “The Vine that ate the South,” and continues to spread along edges of forests, pastures, and right-of-ways and around cities and towns.  During Spring especially, these vines can grow up to a foot a day, covering trees, buildings, and anythin that doesn’t move for a few minutes. Some tree professionals estimate that about 250,000 acres were infested by kudzu in Alabama alone. These vines essential suffocate trees, causing them to die if the vine isn’t removed. Control treatments have been successful using herbicides, overgrazing, and mechanical root removal.

Tallowtree (Triadica sebifera or Sapium sebiferum)

Photo from Flickr user Harum Koh.

Photo from Flickr! user Harum Koh.

These trees (yes, invasive trees!) are native to Eastern Asia and were actually first introduced into South Carolina in 1700s, and then spread wider by federally sponsored plantings in the gulf coast.   This deciduous tree’s colorful fall foliage and rapid growth has made it a popular landscaping tree and cause many to ask for it when they do landscaping.  However, birds and potent seeds have caused infested stream banks, riverbanks, and wet areas as well as upland forests, especially in  Alabama.  Many southern states have banned or in the process of banning sales of this species.  Plants are controlled by tree service professionals through the application of herbicides to foliage, stems, or cut stumps.

Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum)

Photo by Flickr! user Harum Koh.

Photo by Flickr! user Harum Koh.

This absolutely beautiful, but deadly plant, native to Asia and Australia was introduced into the United States in 1930s. This fern has spread throughout Alabama through wind, birds, and even human foot traffic. The fern completely covers trees and suffocates them, as well as takes the nutrients out of the ground around the trees.  Even worse, the native species of plants are displaced, wildlife habitat is destroyed, and access to lands is denied by this species. Careful prescribed burns can reduce vines and applications of herbicides to foliage can control underground stems. If you think you see the plants, contact a tree specialist.

No matter what, if you have a plant that looks like it is invasive, give us a call. We are more than willing to come take a look and talk with you about how to get the plant out of your yard for good.

Header photo from Auburn Alumni Association.

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