Texas trees can be beautiful, attractive to bees, and also highly invasive. Invasive trees are not native to the area where they take up root and grow. Despite being far from their original homes, invasive trees thrive and soon choke out trees that belong in the local ecosystem.
Pay special attention to your property to protect your landscape. Here's what you need to know.
Invasive Plants Were Invited
Gardeners and landowners imported some of the most aggressive non-native trees and plants found growing in Texas today. Initially, the gardeners and landowners sought features that the plants offered. People make fun of kudzu's takeover of the South, but the rapid-growing vines were imported here on purpose. In an effort to control erosion, humans created another problem-the kudzu plant's victory over roadsides, hills, trees, and power poles.
Trees can be as destructive as kudzu. Invasive trees that were introduced to the U.S. for their fragrance, flowers or hardy growth are now crowding out more delicate Texas natives. The beneficial aspects of the plants are canceled out by the negative impact that invasive trees pose to the environment.
Invasive Trees Upset the Ecosystem
You might be asking yourself how a simple tree can be a threat. There are several ways this can happen.
Non-native trees become a problem when they out-compete the local tree species. Invasive trees take over thickets and forests due to several factors in their favor. These factors include their ability to:
- Produce many seeds that disperse easily
- Develop multiple suckers and side shoots
- Tolerate parched, salinated and compacted soil
- Thrive with no local predators or diseases
Some invasive tree species thrive because they release allopathic chemicals that affect nearby plants. "Allelopathy" is the name for the chemical inhibition of nearby growth. Adjacent plants are stunted or die outright after contact with the chemicals released.
When native trees die, food and shelter for native wildlife diminish. Flooding, fires, and the flow of nutrients take a turn for the worse. The more invasive plants disturb and eliminate native trees and vegetation, the more damage is done.
The Texas ecosystem relies on biodiversity to sustain wildlife and protect the land. Invasive species of trees eliminate biodiversity and eventually help choke out natural species of all types.
Invasive Trees Affect the Texas Landscape
Both the Tree-of-heaven and the Chinese tallow tree are Asian transplants that can take over your yard. Have your tree service check for the presence of these trees.
The tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) was introduced as an ornamental tree because of its attractive leaves and small yellow flowers. Its name is related to the lofty heights this tree reaches at maturity. A tree-of-heaven can grow 60 to 80 feet in height.
Tree-of-heaven can also:
- Overrun native vegetation in thickets
- Dominate colonized sites
- Create a hazard to power lines
- Cause sewer lines to fail
The tree-of-heaven has many of the worst features of invasive trees. Each tree can release up to 300,000 seeds. The youngest sprouts can grow up to 15 feet in height and releases allopathic chemicals.
The Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) is a beloved ornamental. The tree came from China in the 18th century. Its broad leaves and autumn color are attractive landscape features.
Commercial growers use the tree in the U.S. for soap and seed-oil production. Chinese tallow tree is fastgrowing and can grow up to 50-feet in height. Chinese tallow trees create the same problems as Tree-of-heaven above.
Chinese tallow out-competes other trees because it:
- Tolerates full sun or full shade
- Tolerates saline soil
- Manages in swamps or arid condition
Expect the complete eradication of an established colony to take up to five years. Stay ahead of the aggressive trees like these by having your tree service cut out problem invasive species. Other tips to keep invasive trees to a minimum include:
- Keep plant communities healthy
- Minimize soil disturbance
- Revegetate bare soil areas
- Pull seedlings
Your tree service is careful when cutting down trees since sprouts easily develop. Your tree service can use a chemical treatment after cutting trees down to reduce regrowth of suckers and seedlings. Contact Holcomb Tree Service today to adequately address invasive and diseased trees on your property.