Purchasing a new home is an incredibly exciting time in one’s life. And one of the first things many new homeowners do is consider ways to beautify the home and make it their own. Strategies for enhancing one’s home often include adding new landscaping or identifying or beefing up the current landscape – this is particularly important to many homeowners in the North San Diego County region since there is so much natural beauty surrounding the area.
Unfortunately, many new homeowners don’t take the time to check and see if the plants or trees in their new landscape could be potentially invasive to the area. Invasive species are non-native plants and trees that are introduced from other parts of the world. And once these species are placed in landscaping, they can reproduce and take over many natural habitats. San Diego’s temperate climate allows plants from all over the world to thrive, making the area particularly vulnerable to takeover by invasive species.
Invasive species can be devastative to local ecosystems and the health of the environment in several ways.
- They negatively impact a variety of industries, including fisheries and agriculture.
- They can cause an area to be prone to natural disasters, such as floods and fires.
- They disrupt the structure and stability of North San Diego Counties natural communities.
Because of the tremendous amount of damage that invasive trees and plants can do, there are monitoring programs to mitigate the spread and proliferation of these plants. But these programs come with a very steep price. The invasive weeds Arundo donax and Tamarisk have proliferated around Lake Morena and Barrett Lake. Removing these plants will cost around $710,000, although it is well worth the investment to protect these beautiful natural habitats.
Preventing Invasive Planting
The cost to address invasive San Diego trees and plants after they have been introduced into a habitat is always great. It requires a ton of resources and time. And while many invasive plants can be added to a home when potted or are behind barriers, their addition to landscaping can be incredibly dangerous. Some homeowners simply do not know what is included in their landscaping or select plants based on aesthetics. They may later find out that their landscaping includes invasive species after the yard has been completed. This scenario often results in the homeowner having to assume costly mitigation measures to prevent the spread of the plant.
If you are a new homeowner – or are considering adding to your landscaping – it’s a great idea to have a general familiarity with some of the most prominent invasive threats to the San Diego Region. These include:
- Arundo donax (giant reed/false bamboo): A perennial grass native to India, its height can read over 20 feet.This plant was introduced in the LA region in the early 1800s.
- Tamarisk family (salt cedars): A woody shrub or small tree with slender gray-green foliage, these plants can reproduce quickly.
- Mexican fan palm: Native to Baja, California, these trees quickly outcompete native plants once established.
- Pampas grass: Readily available at most nurseries, this grass is incredibly invasive and suffocates plants that prevent erosion.
- Fountain grass: This grass is already present in many landscapes around San Diego but presents a problem as it can self-seed and spreads rapidly.
- Horsetail: Horsetail is so invasive, it can crawl under concrete and take root in neighboring yards quickly.
- Australian saltbush: This weed grows close to the ground in dense mats that kill all native plants in the area. It is found in soil with heavy salt concentrations.
These plants are some of the top invasive threats to the San Diego region, but they are not the only ones you may encounter while designing landscaping. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to be familiar with some of the common characteristics found in invasive trees and plants. They tend to:
- Spread by wildfire, water, wind, and/or seeds
- Reproduce rapidly by roots, seeds, shoots, or all three
- Produce numerous seeds that disperse and sprout easily
- Adapt to different climatic conditions
- Be non-native to San Diego County
- Exploit and colonize disturbed and non-disturbed native areas
- Not be controlled by predators or native control mechanisms
The best way to address invasive plants is to prevent their spreading. This can be done by following a few tips while designing your landscaping:
- Select plant material carefully and use locally native plants.
- Remove invasive plants before they become a problem if they are currently in your landscaping.
- Replace any invasive plants with native or non-invasive species.
- Use fertilizer wisely. Excessive use of fertilizer can help many invasive species.
If you have questions or concerns about your current landscaping or would like to add landscaping to a newly-purchased home, contact Tree Barber. Our experts can help you design a beautiful landscape while avoiding any invasive trees or plants.
Recognized as a top tree care company, Tree Barber Enterprises serves thousands of residential customers in North County San Diego. Our Certified Arborist are highly skilled and extensively trained in the latest arboriculture techniques, enabling us to perform our tasks quickly, safely, and economically.