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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Native Species

There is a nice nature trail through an old neighborhood in Warner Robins. The houses were originally quite expensive; so the area has held up although it too is in decline. I live in a beautiful place out in the country. But I fancy a few of the homes along this trail so my bull dog can have her much loved walk. Why I would consider leaving a home built in 1996 for one built in 1966.

More importantly, why would I crave that little nature trail. It is full of invasive species of plants. Plants like Nandina. When the food gets scarce, birds eat its colorful orange berries. Then die from cyanide poisoning. Nandina is sold in nurseries throughout Georgia and is an invasive species that crowds out native species.

What is an invasive species depends on where you live. That trail was paved to make it easier to maintain water and sewer lines which wind through this low area. An intermittant stream also follows beside the trail. I've walked the trail and identified most of the plants, very few are native. But the chipmunks don't seem to mind.

Smooth cord grass which is a major producer in the marshes of the intertidal zone on the Eastern coast of the United States is a major invasive species of China.

The Red eared Slider is a common pet which has become an invasive species in China and the United Kingdom. The Red Eared Slider natural habitat is in the Southeastern United States. I remember my brother releasing his pet turtle with heavy encouragement from my mom. I could tell he did not want to. But my mother could not stand the smell. I hope it was a native species. Even worse are people who will flush fish down a toilet. The animal may live. But it will probably die a terrible death.

In Florida, there were people who released a type of eel in the waterways because they liked to eat them. When you consider there were no predators, the population is out of control. And for people like me, I don't care to eat them. Today the big legislations in Georgia is about Tilapia farming. They want looser regulations. But a release of these fish in Georgia waterways would be a disaster for native species. Tilapia are farmed for food because they reproduce and grow rapidly.

Hogweed which produces terrible skin burns was introduced to the United States as an ornamental. It is not in Georgia yet; but it is coming.

Wild hogs are a problem in the Southeastern United States and Australia. When Hernando DeSoto made his murderous tromp across the Southeast between 1539 and his death in 1542, he released domesticated pigs which became feral. On occasion, I see black pigs on my property or crossing the road to get to the river.

One big solution for the average person is to use native species for your lawn. I work on removing the Chinese Privet from my property. Walking across the overgrown field which is my front yard, there are so many invasive species. And yes, I pull them up. It is a hopeless task. But this is my part along with sharing what I know to those who will listen.

Wild Azaleas - Central Georgia


  1. Hi Ann - invasive species are a real problem in all parts of the world - things introduced because back in the 1600s and onwards no-one understood - now we do - yet people don't seem to pay attention ... it's a plant, an animal, a bird ... so it's fine - yet it's so often not. We can only do what we can do ... good for you removing the invasive plants as best you can ... cheers Hilary

  2. This was a great post. We do have many invasives. I didn't know about the eels. Yikes.

  3. After Hurricane Rita in 2005, we began to notice some new to us bugs and things sprouting. We think they came on the storm. We live jam up against the Jack Gore Baygall Unit of the Big Thicket National Preserve.
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead


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