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mexican fan palm

Non-Native Invasive Plants

by Lorraine on May 27, 2011

Sigh, I want to stress that I am not a horticulturist or a botanist but simply a person who happens to love the environment and nature.   I breaks my heart to see it damaged by intentionally introducing animals into a habitat where they don’t belong (I’m thinking of the mongooses I saw on Maui to control rats but ended up destroying the eggs of the local birds) or plants that take over and engulf areas that are meant for native plants.

A week ago as I was walking up a dry stream bed behind my house, doing some seed collecting and I was shocked to see a Tamerisk bush growing in it that was about 8′ tall.   What a heartbreaking vision this was, plus I could see some smaller plants in the area surrounding it as well.

The problem with Tamerisk  is that they are not only an invasive species of plant but they will literally take all the water that they can find and deprive the native plants in the same area of any moisture to sustain themselves.   They have very long tap roots, are extremely difficult to remove and eventually they will choke out any competition and completely take over the area.

I just felt so upset about this and resigned to the feeling that there was nothing that I could do about it.  In all the years of hiking around in the hills and through the stream bed areas, I have never seen one before and I’m wondering if some idiot planted some in the housing tract nearby or if possibly the golf course’s landscape that butts up to the area, it the source of the invader.

Many plants that are popular for use in landscaping come from other areas and are not compatible with our climate, environment or our local plants.   They tend to invade the hillsides and open spaces and it becomes virtually impossible to stop their expansion.  Please inform yourself, your landscaper or Gardener as to which plants should be avoided when planning  your landscaping.

Do nature a favor and be sure that your choices aren’t going to become a problem in the future.   “It” may look nice (Fountain Grass) but it’s an awful choice when there are so many other beautiful native plants that are better and more beautiful to use for landscaping your home.

For more information, you can go to the California Invasive Plant Council: