What’s growing in your backyard?
Just what are invasive species? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an “invasive species” is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration; and, whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. A number of federal and state agencies are concerned with invasive species including The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which battles non-native plants and animal species every day to maintain the health of our natural areas and waterways.
Closer to home, The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department is addressing the many invasive plant species that have infiltrated our pathways and open spaces, impacting native plants and trees. Since May 2019, nearly one hundred Township residents have attended classes on invasive plants, learning to identify them, monitor their spread and report data. This “Invasives Task Force” has also gone to work on our on pathways, removing hundreds of pounds of air potato vine, Japanese climbing fern, nandina, elephant ear, Chinese privet and other non-natives.
What can you do?
May 16-23, 2020 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. What better time to join your neighbors in learning about invasives and how to stop them?
Texasinvasives.org offers a wealth of helpful information on invasive species in our state and region. Learn how to identify key invasives in our area and how to take action. Whether you are a boater, aquarium owner, gardener, hiker, pet owner or all the above, you’ll find specific tips to help stem the tide of invasive species.
Stop the spread
Once you’re familiar with our most common invaders, check your yard to see if you have any. If so, take a simple but important action for the health of our local environment by replacing them with natives. Then, consider increasing your impact even more by joining the Township’s Invasive Task Force!
You might also be interested in exploring the “Citizen Science” section of texasinvasives.org for advanced learning opportunities such as area workshops and online trainings. Citizen Scientists are volunteers who receive expert training to identify and track key invasives in our area. The information they gather is delivered into a statewide database and to those who can do something about it. The premise is simple. The more trained eyes watching for invasive species, the better our chances of lessening or avoiding damage to our native landscape.
Let us know if you’re interested, or have questions, by sending an email to email@example.com. Learn more and help Stop the Spread!
5 thoughts on “It’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week”
Trumpet vine is a local, native invasive species. In areas such as The Woodlands that have a low plant diversity, it is highly invasive and can simply overwhelm trees. This needs to be recognized and these species need to be controlled as much as non-natives.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has more information about this native in their database that may be of interest to readers: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=cara2
Trumpet vine, as noted, may appear invasive if not trimmed. This is a personal decision. The vine is not only a beautiful native plant but is a major nectar plant for all types of hummingbirds. It does not appear on the Texas Invasives website.
I’m talking about trumpet vine overgrowing the trees all thru The Woodlands on islands and woods edges. It is seldom removed much less ever trimmed by the Township. It needs to be controlled just like the Japanese honeysuckle. It smothers things for lack of competing native plants present in a more fully diverse environment. It can’t just be ignored because it’s a native, if it is invasive in the general sense.
Hi Ms. Golian and Ms. Barnes.
Just a clarification: trumpet vine is not in the Texasinvasvies.org database because it is a native species. As noted in the blog above, the term “invasive species” is reserved for only non-native species that cause harm.
This is not to say, of course, that native plants can be unruly, as Ms. Golian notes. As Ms. Barnes says, however, trimming and managing natives may be necessary on one’s property, as a personal decision. The native plants are more likely to be important for our local native fauna that non-natives, since they evolved together, so we always recommend keeping this in mind when deciding if, when, and how much to manage.
Thank you Augusta for your concern about maintaining healthy green spaces throughout the community. The Woodlands Township does remove invasive vines, that are damaging the forest’s health, at scheduled times throughout the year. Your help in reporting areas in need of service would be greatly appreciated. Please contact staff at 281-210-3900 or use the 311 app to report areas in need of vine removal or reforestation opportunities.