If your property includes a woodlot or natural wooded area, promote biodiversity by terminating invasive trees and shrubs. Here's what you should know about invasive trees on your land.
Understand the Epic Battle to Retain Biodiversity
Biodiversity is a big word to explain the variability of life forms existing in a healthy ecosystem. Biodiverse areas host a wide variety of native plants, animals, birds, fish, insects, and other life forms. The different life forms are able to co-exist in a delicate balance that's easily disrupted by plants that don't belong.
Invasive trees and shrubs are the plants that don't belong. Invasive plants aren't happy merely crowding out other plants. They also lower the biodiversity of native mammals, birds and other life forms in the ecosystems they invade. Nuisance trees and shrubs are able to wage a worthy fight against biodiversity with their superior growth habits, including:
- Extreme drought tolerance
- Super hardiness in frigid or hot temperatures
- Tolerate sun or shade
- Release chemicals that inhibit nearby plant growth
Invasive plants are able to screw up a perfectly good ecosystem in another critical way. They form vast thickets of dense growth, then throw an abundance of shade on understory plants. Many understory plants are important food sources. When those nutritious plants stop growing in an area, the animals and beneficial insects that feed on those plants must leave, too.
Don't Wave These Olive Branches
Two types of wild olive trees originally from Asia and Eurasia are dangerous enemies of biodiversity. Both of these trees are able to dominate woodlots and scrub areas because of a unique weapon they possess. If the invasive Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) or Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) take root in poor, barren dirt, they simply start fixing nitrogen in the soil around their roots. Plants who get sick from too much nitrogen die off, while the Autumn and Russian olives thrive.
Both the Russian and Autumn Olive trees have their redeeming qualities. The plants make attractive and fast-growing windbreaks and hedgerows with their pretty willow-like leaves featuring white undersides. Both trees bloom with small yellowish flowers that smell divine. The berries are a great food source for birds.
But these are wolves in sheep clothing. The berries are wantonly spread by birds, causing further invasions. Both trees are thirsty and develop wide root systems with deep taproots that soak up nearby moisture other plants need. Russian olive and Autumn olive replace native Populus and willow trees along the edges of creeks and other bodies of water.
Experts recommend that you remove any Russian or Autumn olive, especially if the shrubs or trees are growing near a water source. Remove any suckers or saplings you find growing on your property. Suitable alternatives are lilac trees, cottonwoods, and pawpaw trees.
Scout Your Land for Other Wily Invaders
Other tree species perform similar acts of war on biodiversity. These species include:
- Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia Linnaeus)
- Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
- Norway maple (Acer platanoides Linnaeus)
- Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila Linnaeus)
Your tree service can remove larger invasive trees with a crane and other heavy equipment. If you have a small stand of the trees, they can be cut all the way down to the ground by an experienced tree service. After cutting down the stand of olives, your tree service can use chemical treatments on the stumps and roots to completely kill the plants.
It often takes a year or more for your tree service to completely rid your property of invasive plant species. After you have the area prepared for new plantings, install shrubs and trees recommended by your tree-care experts. Your local tree-service professionals know which native trees and shrubs will grow best in the spot and provide diverse habitat.
Contact the experts at Above & Beyond Companies, Inc, today to schedule an invasive-species inspection of your woodlots, forests and woodland areas. We have the equipment and know-how to remove and install trees of all sizes.