Thursday, August 13, 2009

Festering problem with Invasive trees and vines

For decades, a creep of invasive plants has been drifting north from the coastal prairies. I have observed this occurring my entire lifetime. When I was young, there were not many invasive trees, notably the Chinese Tallow. Now, there are forests in marsh areas, once inhabited by marsh creatures. The coastal marshes are however not in scope of this article. They are only examples of what can and will happen when invasive plants go unchecked. The Woodlands parks and paths have these trees, some in abundance. I am blessed by living next to one such park which demonstrates what can happen. We have a beautiful invasive tree population in this park. People like to see them in the Fall. They produce a lot of color. As the trees are allowed to grow unabated, birds spread their millions of seeds throughout The Woodlands. New trees are also propagated through their long root systems. An example of this propagation is shown in the leading photograph of this article. The little trees are on the edge of the pond and on this peninsula where residents sometimes picnic and fish. The tree is also very difficult to kill, and it propagates even when stressed. Some residents see this tree as a friend and actually take measures to protect and encourage its growth. If unchecked, in five years, the trees will be "small adults", about 8-10 feet tall. In 10 years, they will be full sized, reproducing prolifically. I have lived here more than 10 years now and watched as the population of this tree has grown. If we let it, it will eventually displace our forest, and we will be just like the prairie.

We do have an irradiation program, but it was designed for very visible spots, like entries into neighborhoods. The program replaces those trees removed with native trees. Perhaps we should prioritize this program and place more funds on it to get the job done. The other issue being brought forward here is the vine growth. We have a program to mitigate this issue as well. Mitigating the destruction of our trees by vines that grow well in the sunlight has been difficult. We have a contractor working on the program. It appears that the program is simply under funded, or just lacking sufficient resources to get the job done.

In short there are certain critical issues that must be resolved. Status quo in government transition may not be acceptable. We need our leaders to question these programs and make sure we have sufficient budget and emphasis to protect the natural environment which serves to make out community an exceptional place to live - in the forest.

Other resources 1Number 1 Enemy Chinese Tallow

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