When most of us garden and tend to the landscaping around our homes, we trust that the stores in our community have our best interests at heart. So it can be difficult to discover that you planted something that is taking over your yard.
We’ve globalized most of the processes we live with every day. We buy food, books, cars, computers, even clothing from corporations that reach around the world. Why not the plants you include in your landscaping too?
The problem is what grows here in Oregon isn’t the same as what would grow in a desert or tropical community. A tree in Portland might not do so well in Florida. An Oregon tree service contractor will tell you that the biggest problems come from the trees that aren’t native to our community.
What Invasive Species Do To Our Community
Planting a species that isn’t native to our community has a variety of consequences. The most significant is creating a loss of habitat. When new, more invasive species are introduced to an area, they wipe out less aggressive species that are native to the area. And that can mean extinction for both plant and the animals they support.
Still, you may already have a few invasive species in your current landscape. Maybe they were planted long before you moved in.
What problems can they create once they are already in place? Turns out, quite a bit.
It’s easy to see how your landscaping interacts with your home. A vine can attach itself and start to climb up the bricks or pipes of your home. A bush or shrub can crack the foundation. A tree can be too close to your roofline, scraping and damaging your home.
But where the real damage is might not be where you can see it. It can be underground too.
Your property has a lot going on underneath your landscaping. Pipes, wires, sewer lines, and more are buried deep in the ground. And intrusion from invasive tree roots is considered one of the most common problems. It’s also one of the most problematic. And it’s impacting our society in many ways.
The sewer lines buried in your yard are designed to take wastewater out of your home and transport it via pipes out to the streets, and eventually to a treatment plant that treats it and redistributes it throughout our communities in many ways. The trouble is that these systems were built many years ago. And they are getting weaker all the time.
When an invasive plant is in your yard, looking for nutrition, going down to your pipes may be a pretty good place to start.
As an Oregon tree service, part of our job is to educate our customers and share with them how to make their landscaping better. If you’re about to make a change on your property, what trees should you plant, and more importantly, what trees should you avoid?
Empress or Princess Tree
The Empress or Princess Tree is often grown as a yard tree. To keep it under control, it needs regular pruning. The result is a full canopy of large, heart-shaped leaves with trusses of lavender-blue flowers that bloom in the spring. They are considered an ecological threat because of their ability to grow rapidly in natural areas, including forests, stream banks, and steep rocky slopes.
English Hawthorn was planted historically in hedgerows, to help contain livestock. Its dense growth can alter the structure of a forest and change open grasslands. It can grow easily in all lowland areas and lives in many soil types. It loves moist soil, but does equally well in drought conditions.
English Holly is an evergreen plant that has made its way throughout the Pacific Northwest via birds. This plant has become one of the most common invasive species found throughout our region and can be spread from miles away.
The English Laurel is an evergreen tree that is commonplace in heavily-wooded areas. It’s considered a noxious weed as it’s a fast growing, fast moving plant that is spread through native birds and animals. It’s tolerant in a variety of conditions, making it resilient in many areas.
Golden Chain Tree
The Golden Chain Tree is deciduous, with leaves resembling clover. They have yellow pea-like flowers that bloom in spring, making them popular garden trees. All parts of the plant are poisonous and can be lethal if consumed in excess.
The Horse Chestnut is a deciduous tree that has five-lobed leaves and attractive flowers. The nuts are spread to other areas by birds and animals. Once established, they compete with native trees for space, light, and nutrients.
The Norway Maple has invasive traits that enable them to spread aggressively. It became a popular choice because of its tolerance in urban conditions, giving it the ability to thrive throughout our community. Yet over time, it often takes on the appearance of a weedy plant and self-seeds very easily.
The Sweet Cherry is a deciduous tree that’s part of the rose family. It creates enough shade to kill off other species during germination and early growth stages. Because of its sweet berries, native animals like to eat it, thus spreading the seed around to neighboring areas.
The Sycamore Maple is a large deciduous, broad-leaved tree that is tolerant of a windy and coastal environment. It’s easy to establish and seeds itself, which means it can quickly take over any yard in your community.
Tree Of Heaven
The Tree Of Heaven is a fast growing, deciduous, exotic invasive tree that can germinate and grow in many different soil and site conditions. It can reach a height of 80 feet tall and is common in all kinds of habitats throughout our community. You’ll find it popping up in unlikely places—cracks and crevices of stone and cement patios, sidewalks, close to buildings and bridges. They can quickly destruct everything in its area.
White Poplar is a large, fast growing, relatively short-lived tree that is often found growing in open areas, particularly around parks, golf courses, and other large landscapes. It loves moist sites around waterways. It has distinctive five-lobed, dark green leaves with a white undersurface. The bark is gray to white with distinct dark diamond-shaped blotches. Its invasive traits enable them to spread aggressively.
An underlying trait of all invasive plants is fast growing. They are in constant look for water and will find it and take hold in the ground and spread to neighboring locations.
Underground, the best place to look for water is your water lines and sewer pipes. They are the first things a tree will attack when it isn’t getting the nutrients it needs from up above.
Do you have invasive trees in your yard? Our tree service can help you reclaim your yard and get back to the landscaping Oregon grows best.