When you’re setting out to create a glorious outdoor landscape experience, particularly in Oklahoma, it’s so tempting to focus on what you want to see. However, it’s also important to point out what you don’t want to see: brown, yellowing bushes or greenery; dead garden beds; dry or hardened overgrowth. Where does all this come from? Homeowners might be tempted to think that it’s just the result of a lack of watering, but the reality is that your property may be being overrun by something far worse: invasive plants.
Invasive plants are plants that are non-native to your lawn or property’s ecosystem, and whose introduction causes environmental harm, or harm to human health. Simply put: they’re plants that don’t belong in the first place, and will wind up choking out the life of your green grass or beautiful garden bed.
Invasive plants can shade out other plants, competing for sunlight and precious resource. Some invasive plant pathogens can kill trees. Should you have water on your property, you should be mindful that some invasive plants feed on or can make fish and wildlife ill. Essentially, invasive species compete for food and space with other species and can interfere with their growth, reproduction, and development. Invasive species place other species at increased risk of extinction. Pretty soon, if left unattended, they can be the only plant life you have left!
Not only do invasive plants have a negative effect on your property’s ecosystem, they can also cause injury to humans. Giant hogweed causes blistering and severe skin reactions. Invasive plant pollen causes allergic reactions. Imported Red Fire Ants cause painful stings. “Zoonotic” pathogens and parasites infect both humans and wildlife and livestock. Additionally, pathogens are spread by ticks, insects, and other animal vectors, and can easily effect humans as a result. Other examples of invasive species include zebra mussels, which can clog water pipes and cost millions to replace or repair. Terrestrial species like king ranch bluestem and cheatgrass can take over pastures and prairies and make the land uninhabitable for many plant and animal species and less profitable for livestock.
While invasive plants are most often found by lakes, wetlands, parks, and forests, some invasive species inhabit homes and urban environments – including (perhaps) on your property!
Help! I think I have an invasive plant species! Now what?
When you’re trying to figure out how to treat your invasive plant problem, most treatment options break down into one of three areas: mechanical, chemical, and biological.
Mechanical control means physically removing plants from the environment through cutting or pulling. Chemical control uses herbicides, which kill plants and inhibit regrowth. (Techniques and chemicals used will vary depending on the species.) Biological controls use plant diseases or insect predators, typically from the targeted species’ home range. Several techniques may be effective in controlling a single species, but there is usually one preferred method—often the one that is most resource-efficient with minimal impact on non-target species and the environment.
Regardless of the situation you’re in, GreenPro is here to help. We can come out, do a walk-through of your property, figure out the problem, and work with you to create a solution. At GreenPro we specialize in bringing lawns and properties to glorious life, and will diagnose whatever is keeping this from happening. Concerned that your lawn or property may be the victim of invasive plants? Call GreenPro today, and let’s get your landscape looking healthy again!