Invasives: It aint easy being "green"

Discussion in 'Plants: Conservation' started by Penina, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Penina

    Penina Member

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    I've been part of this forum since it started last year and read postings on a couple of others as well. I work as a conservation biologist so I am involved in invasive species management quite a bit. I like to keep in touch with how individuals and organizations are dealing with pests and their perspectives on native plant/exotic plant uses. One thing I have noted though is that the fall back to pesticides or chemical treatments is still getting suggested frequently (moreso on other forums but this one as well) as a means to deal with problem plants. I know they are convenient but its something I am hoping that horticultural enthusiasts will consider moving away from. Those of us who do a lot of restoration of natural systems and work to protect amphibians and insects as well as a host of other creatures are trying to get the general public to reduce their dependency on such toxins. I do support their use in some instances, but I've found that there are a lot of viable naturally derived alternatives out there (from acetic acid to saponied fatty acid soaps) that if used properly are less likely to have ripple effects in the environment. Goats, cows, donkeys and especially people power are excellent ways to raise the profile of invasive species and help get the public engaged in the issue more than a quick spritz of a neuro toxin ever could.
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    From what I see spending time at the service desk of a major retail garden center there are a few hurdles or issues that occur regularly.
    Price; always an issue and it seems that the soap and/or acetic acid products are somewhat higher most of the time.
    Effectiveness; speed of visible detriment or 'cure' of the offending issue is usually speedier with the non organic products.
    Application; timing, methods, mix rate etc are something that the applicator NEEDS to understand and abide by, thats what the research was for in the first place when developing the product. MANY people do not understand this, I have explained to many people over the years the how, when and how much to use information repeatedly before I was comfortable that they understood. Last year I refused to sell a couple a product via their translating teenage daughter, they (and she) clearly had no idea what I was trying to explain (we tried for at least 15 minutes) to them and could not read the label.
    Diagnosis; so many people have no idea what the problem is and just grab the first bottle that looks like it might work. Too many people rely on a product to kill the offenders when the offenders have only gained access because the plant is not in an appropriate environment in the first place. If a person is drowning would you give them a tank of compressed air every once in a while or would you be better served to drag them to shore?

    anyhoo, end of semi-rant. :)
     
  3. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Chemicals come up when we try to help people solve problems, and that happens on this exact forum and all over the UBCBG site. If you're interested in influencing their use, then perhaps you should participate in the forums on specific threads in which people talk about their problems, and you can suggest methods that they can use without resorting to chemicals.

    Motherhood statements like "trying to get the general public to reduce their dependency on such toxins" are of no help at all and only serve to make people disregard your message because you don't give people the information they need to get through their situation without them. And to say "I do support their use in some instances" does nothing to help people recognize those instances and use appropriate chemicals correctly when those instances arise.

    If you have the objective of reducing toxin use, visit the site often, click on "new posts," and you'll find some people facing problems that often generate toxin use. Chime in with your ideas if you have better ones than other people are offering.

    Here's a place to start:
    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=34519
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    More help for the non use of the "roundups" of this world would be really great. For my own use I use the toxin when I really can't get rid of the wretched thing. eg a thing called a wisteria tree that comes up again and again wrecking my septic system. My fault for buying it. Problem was it was not labled as to what its habits were.

    That brings me to something that government could do no matter where we are from. Nurseries sell so many pants that are invasive and are actually classed as noxious weeds in certain areas. I am still seeing plants such as ivy and lantana for sale in our plant outlets. These plants are a real menace here. Time there was a little legislation as to what can be sold in certain places.

    Many years ago I bought a bannana passion fruit. Very nice it was untill I discovered it running wild in part of our local forest up in the 60 + foot eucalypts. Birds eating the fruit and dropping it elsewhere. Mine disapeared very promptly. Even violets are rampant down the bottom of my paddock. Escapees from a neighbour's garden. Fortunatly my little goats love them.

    I have been watching the landcare group clean our local creek foot by careful foot. The invader is non clumping bamboo that was a fire hazard and was smothering the creek ecosystem. I have seen hand cutting but I suspect they are using some toxin to get rid of the new growth. Sycamore is another bush invader. Here too they are using toxin, tree by tree. The vista of fern gullies that are opening up are really beautiful.

    These are all garden escapees.

    Liz
     
  5. sososleepy

    sososleepy Member

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    It sure isn't! I bought my home and loved the big trees that whistled in the breeze... then I found out they were invasive Australian Pines. I tried to remove the giant bush in the back after I learned it was an invasive Brazilian Pepper Tree. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, kills it. I did eradicate it after 6 years of cutting to the ground and chemicals, but the darned things pop up all over and die hard. I found a wonderful little wildflower weed, Spermacoce something after a lot of searching because my butterflies use it, and tried to find out if it's native or invasive or neutral... yes to all, depending on the web site I search. I even took it to the county extension office.... they told me it was a weed. Yeah, I want to go mostly green, but it's HARD sometimes. PS, If you're really good at ID'ing Spermacoce, which one is mine?: http://butterflies.heuristron.net/plants/whiteball.html
     
  6. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Pines Australian Pines????

    are you sure these were ours???? :) I know we have a few of yours down here as plantations and a rare thing called the Huon pine just wondering what yours is /was

    Liz
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Probably Casuarina, mis-named. The USA has a dreadful habit of re-naming other peoples' plants for them, usually in a confusing, and often offensive imperialist, manner.
     
  8. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Thanks Michael, have been wracking my brain and this is definatly not one I would have thought of. I love these trees. I have one outside the window and it sighs in the breeze like a real pine. The only problem is the parrots and possums like them too for their seeds. They have used them along one of the freeways here and they look just like a type of pine. By the way we refer to them as She Oaks. No idea why

    This might be the one that is growing in Florida

    http://www.koalanativeplants.com.au/commerce/search/products/?product_id=cascun&merchant_id=2056

    http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/1999/archives/25/in_the_garden/trees_and_palms/casuarinas
     
  9. sososleepy

    sososleepy Member

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    Wow Liz, I never really thought of them as "yours"; they're growing in my yard, so I think of them as "mine." Australian Pine is just what people around here call them, and yes, we use the name to describe several Casuarina species. I used to love them too, so I have a whole page explaining why I don't any more, at least not the ones that sucker (which I have, and still can't believe how darned fast they grow!), and the ones in my yard: http://butterflies.heuristron.net/plants/australianpine.html Florida has a list of prohibited plants that all Casuarina species (clumped together as Australian-pine) are on: http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/prohib.html The last paragraph on this page gives some of the reasons: http://www.floridata.com/ref/C/casu_equ.cfm that Florida is trying to get rid of it.

    Michael F, sorry if you're offended; I didn't NAME them, and I don't feel like I'm being either offensive or imperialist. I understand that Australia is having problems with non-native invasive plants too. Australia lists Japanese honeysuckle, African lovegrass, and Mexican feather grass as problem plants, and I'm sure they didn't mean anything by those names any more than whomever named Brazilian Pepper or Australian Pine did. I'm well aware that some native US plants, like Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata) which I enjoy in my yard, are problem plants in Australia (reference CSIRO report prepared for WWF-Australia: http://www.wwf.org.au/publications/jumping_the_garden_fence/)

    I was a bit surprised at the replies, and at a conversation I had recently with someone about Brazilian Pepper, so I made a Politics of Plants page and linked it to this thread: http://butterflies.heuristron.net/Politics.html in case someone who reads my site gets unhappy with my mentioning either of the two plants too.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    >The USA has a dreadful habit of re-naming other peoples' plants for them, usually in a confusing, and often offensive imperialist, manner<

    Whereas North American native plants growing overseas of course never get new common names that aren't in use or prevalent in their home lands.

    Anyway, look who's talking: by now you must have made thousands of posts telling Americans their common names are wrong and they should instead be using ones like Pink Siris (for mimosa or silk tree, Albizia julibrissin) - which are completely foreign to us here or nearly so.
     
  11. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I know the botanical name is important hence my attempts to link common name with propername but I do have a need for the common name as it is easier to keep up in the brain. I do find it confusing at times when local names are applied to something I know as something else but then one of the correct names appears by those who know and a google search tells me what it really is. "Shnagaduzia" was my dad's humorous retort when he could not remember the correct moniker (name)

    Re the weed problem. It is amazing how some innocent little road edge wild flower from the northern hemisphere suddenly becomes a raging monster down here and vice versa. [ragwort springs to mind] I suspect the Casuarina would likes your soil and water and hence takes off with gusto. Here the soils and lack of water keep it under control and that habit of suckering helps it to survive in it's natural habitat. I was watching a short kids program on the Wollemei pine this morning and it seems to do a type of suckering as well. Wonder if it might become a weed some where some time now it has escaped from it's canyon home.

    Liz
     
  12. sososleepy

    sososleepy Member

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    Penia, to get your thread back on topic, I brought up the two controversial plants because I had to resort to chemicals to get rid of them, and I don’t like to use most chemicals in my yard if I can possibly avoid it. I really like my Spermacoce weed because although butterflies using it as a nectar source brought it to my attention, I found out that the Larra wasp, which I also have photographs of, uses Spermacoce as its main nectar source, and the wasp kills mole crickets, which a lot of people in my area apply chemicals to kill. They might do better if they let some Spermacoce live in a few corners of their yard to attract the Larra wasps, and save a lot of time, effort and money in the process. If I have a plant that dies because some critter, fungus or who knows what killed it, I don’t plant the same kind of plant again; I try a different one. I’d like a yard that doesn’t need constant attention.
    Liz, common names generally drive me crazy because the same name can, and often does, apply to so many different plants. Little by little I’m learning the plants in my area, but I can’t always figure them out.
     
  13. sososleepy

    sososleepy Member

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    ...and I have to add, given the title of this thread, the topic is extremely funny. I was discussing the politics of plant names with my kids, and told them the name of the thread and the conversations here, and they didn't get it. Did you think about Kermit's song when you named it?
     
  14. sososleepy

    sososleepy Member

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  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Ribbit!
     
  16. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I have to agree with Ron B. and his clarification of "confusing, offensive, imperialistic"? Surely plantsmen around the globe (and regional areas) rename or use names they feel suitable for each area. Botanical names clear the confusion in any circle whether it's in the good ole U.S. of A. or jolly old England.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    And most people using common names for plants aren't horticulturists or botanists. Taxonomically based notions of appropriateness are not a consideration for them.
     
  18. sososleepy

    sososleepy Member

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    LPN, I have to agree that it would be a lot easier to figure out what a plant is if there were no common names, so I’ll skip having an opinion about the dubious titles given to plant professionals here. That said, the commonness of common names leaves curious people like myself who are not plant professionals extremely frustrated when we’re trying to either identify or learn more about a particular plant, and when a common name is all we have to resort to when discussing it, or when we use them because that’s what we believe will yield the most search results for the person we’re discussing the plant with, I don’t think we’ve earned those titles.
    LPN and Ron B, since you’re so very into proper plant names, perhaps you could tell me how to tell the difference between Spermacoce terminalis and Spermacoce verticillata so I could figure out which mine is instead of using a generic common name.
     

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