Some Call It Invasive

Discussion in 'Science & Nature' started by Frank Sanoica, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    [​IMG]
    First, my story. Early during my first marriage we traveled to Las Vegas several times a year from our home outside Chicago. One hot summer day, perusing around downtown, we discovered a small, lovely city park, in which were huge trees which appeared to be evergreens, but had no clearly discernible leaf or needle structure. Pic above is a good example. They withstand the searing Desert heat with no moisture beyond natural precipitation, yet grow to 60 feet in height. I learned the folks in the know out there called them "Smoketrees", because of their cloudlike appearance; they actually looked like greenish-blue clouds of smoke! I noted they were not watering them in any way.

    Originally from Africa and the Middle-East, the Tamarisk has many types. The biggest, above, Tamarisk Aphylla, is beautiful, to me, resistant to all-known plant pests, and can provide much-needed shade all summer from the unrelenting Desert heat, for both animals and humans. U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, exercising the usual governmental doctrine, believes the Tamarisk is sufficiently "invasive" that it should be eliminated from the U.S. The reasons stated are, of course, many.

    In defense of the Tamarisk, I offer this: During the Great Depression Works Progress Administration worked with USDA to "control excessive soil erosion" in the Missouri Ozarks, primarily within the 7-million acre Mark Twain National Forest. We lived within that forest for 13 years. As we hiked about, we were amazed by the everywhere-present rose bushes, which had crept into every possible non-plant area, amongst trees, shrubs, virtually everywhere, making it a chore to walk without encountering thorns tearing at the clothing, ripping open bleeding scratches on the arms. These bushes climbed trees, grew stand-alone sometimes 10 feet tall. Our neighbors universally despised government for not only the introduction of the rose bush soil erosion prevention, but for quite a number of unwanted interventions into these rural folks' lives. Those people, IMO, pretty much understood and knew full-well what they were talking about.

    A house near ours, here in AZ, has Tamarisk planted around the lot's perimeter, possibly covering several acres. The trees are magnificent, forming a towering wall impenetrable as a fence. They are perhaps 40 feet high and my guess would be at least 20 years old. AFAIK, authorities have not yet ordered destruction of privately-owned Tamarisk, but make no mistake, that move is very possible. I would fight them to the greatest extent possible.

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    Above, Tamarisk have grown all along Green Wash south of Casa Grande, AZ, propagated possibly by pieces of branches which wash downstream during flash flooding.

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    Tamarisk in bloom.
     
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  2. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    Yeah, the government also had an absolutely Wonderful (sarcasm at it’s best) little plant known as “Kudzu” planted on 500,000 acres of property in Georgia, Alabama, Virginia and S.Carolina in order to prevent erosion.
    Yeah, the leaves can be eaten and are eaten in Japan and Korea and yes, cattle and other fauna can enjoy the Vitamin A, C and protein rich leaves and roots but......they are indeed the most invasive plant I have ever experienced!

    During the warm months of the year, the vine can grow a foot + each and every day taking over anything and everything it touches.

    The picture isn’t the exception......it’s the norm!
    I tried posting another picture but alas, it didn’t come through.
    upload_2018-9-29_7-2-55.jpeg
     
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  3. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    upload_2018-9-29_7-7-19.jpeg

    Okay, if it took another post to bring another picture through, so be it.
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Very few people will doubt the contributions that the earthworm has made, yet the earthworm is an invasive species in North America. Most of the species of earthworms on the continent are not native to North America but were brought here by colonial settlers. Nothing is more natural than plant and animal species moving from one environment to another. Sometimes they are carried by the wind, by birds, or hitchhiking on other animals. In other cases, they are brought from one place to another by human beings, either accidentally or on purpose. Unless someone is suggesting that human beings are an invasive species on this planet, we're as natural as anything else. To pick an arbitrary date, and to state that everything that was in place on that date should remain, is unrealistic and counterproductive. Rather, we should decide whether a plant, animal, insect, or whatever is beneficial or harmful to the environment, and that should include our needs as well as that of the rest of the environment.
     
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  5. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    In Idaho, folks moving in from California are called invasive.....:).
     
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  6. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    IMO, if all these "invasive" species had truly posed a threat to the environment, they would have taken it over long ago. Natural progression takes care of most anomalies to the norm.......messing with Mother Nature is a BAD IDEA!

    Frank
     
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  7. Neville Telen

    Neville Telen Well-Known Member
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    Ravens, Crows and Dragonflies finally made it to NorCal a couple years ago....hadn't seen any since I moved here back in the early 1980s. Hoping the Swallowtail butterflies and lightningbugs make it here, especially the latter (I really miss them).
     
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  8. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    Sometimes planting what a particular insect likes brings them. Milkweek for Monarchs and some other species of butterflies, and roses for lightning bugs.
     
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  9. Neville Telen

    Neville Telen Well-Known Member
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    What you said got me curious, so did a deep search of Google and came up with this:
    https://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2872/why-arent-there-any-fireflies-in-california/
    ....so looks like fireflies coming from the Midwest is not happening. Turns out there is a Zebra Swallowtail here:
    https://www.facebook.com/California...aken-in-southern-illinoisho/2074011926196633/
    ....just not the pretty one I remember:
    https://www.canstockphoto.com/giant-swallowtail-butterfly-10704373.html
    So looks like I sacrificed more than White Castles and Nickles Banana Flips to move here. The price of no snow and ice came higher than I thought.
     
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  10. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    Another invasive plant common here is Japanese Stiltgrass. Also called Japanese Packing Grass, because it was used long ago as packing material for shipping fragile items from the far East. They speculate that's how it got here.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Plants like kudzu, and probably that Japanese Stiltgrass, are the types of invasive species that are worth getting worked up over because they vigorously compete and overcome the native vegetation while contributing little. It annoys me, though, when they start campaigns against trees or other plants simply because they weren't here in the 1700s or whatever arbitrary date might be set.
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    There is an agenda that gains popularity wherever the state or university system acquires large tracts of property here in Maine, where they work toward eradicating or discouraging any plant or animal species that were not here when the Europeans first settled the continent. I imagine the people arguing this point are part of a national or international agenda, related to Agenda 21. There was also an organization that was encouraging city and town councils to pass ordinances forbidding the planting of non-native plants, as well. They weren't suggesting that it be done all at once, but little by little, which is known as progressivism. When they were trying to implement Agenda 21 here a decade or so ago, a town councilor, who was one of the Agenda 21 advocates, proposed an ordinance banning the planting of lilac because lilacs were brought here by European colonists and are not native to Maine. I don't think she was even able to get a second because her own side realized she was trying to move too quickly.

    She also proposed and even got a second on an ordinance that would require a permit for any changes done to a house, including painting. She wanted the town to move toward an early colonial theme, I think it was, and to do so through ordinances that would allow the planning board to tell you what color you could paint your home, and to not allow repairs or maintenance unless it advanced conformance to the town's theme. Any new buildings would have to be in accordance with the theme. It didn't pass, and her aggressiveness helped us to fight back Agenda 21. However, they are back at it right now and I don't have the energy to fight it again.

    I don't want to get too far afield from the topic here anyhow. My point is that, while there are some good arguments that can be made for campaigns against truly troublesome invasive species, they are often led by people who have a larger agenda, and one that would pretty much turn the whole country into an HMO, with someone else telling you what you can plant, where you can plant it, how much of it you can plant, and so on.
     
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  13. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    Another one here is Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense). Brought to the US as an ornamental shrub in the early 1800's. In fact it is worse than kudzu, because it is spread by seed by birds, so it can pop up virtually anywhere. Kudzu mainly spreads through runners, stems that root at the tip when in contact with moist soil, so there are isolated pockets of kudzu, but otherwise none.

    There are studies that show privet decreases native bee diversity and abundance, and when it is removed the diversity of native plants and pollinators recovers quickly.

    [​IMG]

    Goats control kudzu and privet well, but they "control" everything else along with it. They do not like Japanese stiltgrass. This is one of my favorite subjects. :cool:
     
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    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  14. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    At least the tamarisk is pretty when it blooms. I can't think of anything to say in favor of kudzu.
     
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  15. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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  16. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    What about bamboo?? I've heard that the roots can be huge and grow horizonally for quite a distance, and are a battle to keep under control.
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    Bamboo

    When you need a concrete bunker to contain a plant, you know you’re in trouble. Some varieties of bamboo are so determined to spread that only extreme measures, such as plastic or concrete root barriers, can keep its rhizomes from invading your azaleas. Running varieties include Chimono-bambusa, Indocalamus, Pleioblastus, and Sasa. Clumping varieties are much better behaved — Bambusa, Borinda, Chusquera, Fargesia, and Otatea grow and spread more slowly.

    Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic
     
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  17. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I think bamboo can be invasive if not kept under control.
     
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  18. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    Thus natives have long cut it down and used it for multiple purposes. Weren't the blowguns used by some fashioned from bamboo of some kind?
    Frank
     
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  19. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    Fishing poles! My first fishing pole was a very long bamboo pole. My grandmother only used bamboo poles.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    FWIW, if I remember right, Bamboo is a type of GRASS, which can have extremely strong stalks like small tree trunks.
    Frank
     
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  21. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    We have quite a bit of bamboo growing around the house and it pretty much stays under control with the exception of about mid through late spring and that’s when the surprises start.
    I have seen an area totally devoid of any plant life within 4 feet of a stand of bamboo on one day and go by the same area the next day and a 3 footer would be standing there.
    The growth is so phenomenal in that one of our bamboo plants was topped just below the gutter on the house and within a day or so it was around 6 feet above the gutter. (Note the word, “was”)
    The stuff makes a good wind break and provides some privacy wherever it grows and Yvonne has even used some of the stalks to make some fencing around her garden.
    Bottom line is that yes, we both like the stuff but also yes, it can be troublesome unless of course you like to use a machete.

    One house about a mile from us has some bamboo that is 30 or so feet taller than some of the maple and pecan trees that thrive near the stand.
     
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  22. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  23. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (Halyomorpha halys). They are trying to get into my house right now, but not this many. :eek:



    Not just a nuisance ...

     
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  24. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Nancy Hart We see a few of those here in the Desert from time to time, but so rarely, I can't even say during which season. At least ours look like that!
    Frank
     
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  25. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    There used to be stink bugs years ago when I lived in Ohio, but very rarely seen. Our dog used to come in smelling like them from time to time. Must have been a different variety.
     
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