“The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” Earnest Hemingway said it best. Within our forests, green belts and even our backyards, there is a fight taking place. One that we can all help with: the fight to keep invasive plant species from damaging our native habitats.
Invasive plants are species that exist in habitats outside of their native environment. Introduced accidentally or intentionally, these plants establish themselves – spread – and eventually eliminate native species. Invasive vines grow, unimpeded by natural predators, blocking the sun’s light by overgrowing their native host. Lost along the way is the food and shelter that native wildlife depends on. Invasive plants change the soil chemistry, impact water quality, and alter food webs in our remaining natural areas.
Each of us can take important steps to help in this fight.
Start by keeping invasives out of your home landscape. Some species, such as Japanese honeysuckle, nandina and Asian jasmine, are available for purchase, so shop your local nursery’s native plant section to avoid them. If invasive plants already reside in your landscape, consider replacing them with a native. You’ll prevent their unwanted spread and enjoy the wildlife that natives invite.
Not sure which are the bad guys? HARC Research publishes The Quiet Invasion, a handy identification guide you can search for species of local concern. Report your sightings in our greenspaces through The Woodlands 311 app. Township staff and Invasives Task Force volunteers will start the process of removal.
Now, consider taking it one step further and join the Invasives Task Force. The battle against invasives is a big one but a corps of trained volunteers is helping to turn the tide. As one volunteer puts it:
“The part of vine removal that is always rewarding to me is uncovering our beautiful native species in the understory and to follow-up restoration with natives. In the end, I see the mission of the Task Force to preserve the character of The Woodlands as a remnant forest on the edge of the Piney Woods. The Woodlands is a city ‘in the forest’, not just another suburb.”
Interested in becoming an Invasives Task Force volunteer? By working with our corps of trained volunteers in conjunction with The Township’s invasive species removal program, you can make a big difference in whether all our villages stay green or the invasives win! Attend the next training class for volunteers on February 4, 2023. Full details and registrations available online.
Registration is easy – sign up here.
Got Questions? Contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at 281-210-3800 or firstname.lastname@example.org