Invasive plant species are nothing to laugh about. Though self-explanatory, these species can be dangerous for your “urban forest”, including your trees. Not only are they hard to identify if you’re unsure, but they also are hard to get rid of without professional help. The Parke Company can help in identifying these species and show you the proper steps in getting rid of your invasive species.
According to the UGA Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, there are 403 invasive species reported within the state of Tennessee including herbs, grass, trees, shrubs, vines and aquatic plants. Annually, invasive species cost the state of Tennessee about $2.6 million. Davidson County is the second largest county with the most reported invasive species at 293. Though prominent, if you can identify and understand what these species do, you’re one step closer in making sure your trees and yard stays happy and healthy.
Top four invasive species in Nashville, Tenn.:
1. Bush Honeysuckle (Asian Bush Honeysuckle) — This is a very prominent bush around Middle Tennessee, and is made up of about five species. The scrubby underbrush spreads by birds who feed off their fruits. Originally native to Asia, these invasive species can harm native plants and have negative impacts on wilderness regeneration. This shrubs can range anywhere from five to 20 feet and produce yellow flowers and red and orange fruits.
2. Japanese Honeysuckle — The Japanese Honeysuckle is a vine that grows and twists up small trees and limbs. Native to Japan and Korea, this perennial has few natural threats in the Nashville area. It grows fast and can overtake native species quickly. Its prey (small trees and shrubs) can die if the honeysuckle grows and twists too tightly around the plant preventing water intake. In addition, the dense growth of the vine can prevent necessary sunlight. The Japanese Honeysuckle can reach up to 80 feet long and can reach up to 2 inches thick. During the spring and summer, the plant has fragrant white and/or yellow flowers.
3. Japanese Privet: Similar to the Japanese honeysuckle, the Japanese Privet can dominate plants by dense growth and prevent sunlight, which in turn, can kill native species. Often found along fencerows, streams and forest margins, this plant has rapid reproduction rates in a variety of habitats, which makes them hard to eradicate. Japanese Privet can grow up to 30 feet tall, with shallow but extensive roots. With aromatic blossoms during the springtime, the branches arch downward.
4. Japanese Stiltgrass: This grass grows in low light and moist to dry locations. The plant sprawls out in large patches throughout these areas invading other plants. The species has long, pale green leaves that range from 1 to 3 inches. The stiltgrass can reach a height of 3.5 feet virtually killing off native species that can’t compete.
From Bellevue to East Nashville, invasive species are common problems within the city, as well as the surrounding county. It’s important to be able to identify and treat the problem before they harm your trees and other plants. The Parke Company can help answer any questions or help identify any invasive plants you might have on your property. For more information or a free estimate, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on invasive species, visit www.tneppc.org.