Seven Tips to Avoid Invasive Weeds in Your Yard
The term "weed" refers to any plant that is growing where it is not wanted. Many weeds can be non-native, invasive plants that have been introduced into an environment where they did not evolve. There are many types of invasive plants including herbs, shrubs, trees, flowering plants, vines, and mosses. At first glace these plants may appear pretty, but invasive plants can seriously harm the environment.
Invasive plants can thrive and spread aggressively when introduced into a new habitat. Many species of invasive plants produce large amounts of seeds. These seeds often spread widely by birds and the wind. Also, their seeds can be spread unknowingly by humans. Invasive plants have aggressive root systems that can grow long distances from a single plant. These roots can smother the root systems of surrounding plants and deter the growth of other plants.
Common Invasive Plants in Texas
The Chinese Tallow, a popular ornamental tree, is a serious invasive species problem in many areas of Texas. This fast-growing tree takes over habitats and changes the soil chemistry, allowing the tree to multiply. Chinese Tallows spread by root sprouts and seeds carried by birds and water.
Chinaberry is a drought-tolerant tree that provides shade, beautiful lavender flowers in the spring, and yellow foliage in the fall. Although it is gorgeous, the tree's berries, leaves, bark, and flowers are toxic to livestock, humans, and pets. The Chinaberry grows very quickly and can thrive in nearly any soil condition.
These beautiful ornamental shrubs are among the worst invasive species in Texas. Chinese privet is more common and widely grown. This versatile species can survive in a wide range of habitats, soil, and light conditions. The plant's leaves are high in compounds that defend the plant against herbivores, especially insects, allowing the plant to spread.
Tips for Avoiding Invasive Species in Your Yard
1. Know before you grow. Be sure you are well informed about which plants cause problems in your region.
2. Use native plants. Unlike non-native species, native plants are unlikely to escape and become invasive.
3. Watch out for hitchhikers. Check your clothes, pets, belongings, and vehicles for seeds or pieces of plants that can attach and drop somewhere new. Don't pick the flowers of harmful weeds and take them home.
4. Don't share. Invasive plants can travel by sharing cuttings, seedlings, or plants with neighbors or friends.
5. Check your seeds. Before using seed mixes, check the contents to ensure that invasive plants are not included.
6. Use certified weed-free soil and mix in your yard or garden.
7. Monitor your garden. Invasive plants and weeds can spread quickly. Control your plants by hand-pulling or mowing unwanted seedlings before they mature.