Those Wiley and Wilful Invasive Plants
Yes, they creep and crawl and grow among us. But what is an invasive plant? Invasive plants are those that are not native to this area, usually grow very rapidly, and crowd out native species and other ornamentals. They are not nice guys and do not play fair.
One of the worst invasives in this area is the Chinese Tallow Tree. It looks like a poplar with bright green heart shaped leaves. It may start small, but it can grow up to 60 feet tall. It is believed that it was brought to this country in the 1700’s to provide a source of oil for the soap industry. The popcorn like seeds can spread rapidly by birds or the wind. If you see a Tallow Tree seedling, pull it out and dispose of it. This is a good time of the year to look for it growing along the edge of woodlands because it remains bright green when other plants are beginning to change color.
There are several common shrubs and plants used by landscapers in this region that have been declared invasive by South Carolina state agencies and commissions. Despite this, they are still for sale at nurseries and big box stores. Some of the common ones are:
Elaeagnus angustitfolia -- Russian Olive
Elaeagnus pungens - - Thorny Olive
Elaeagnus umbellata –- Autumn Olive
Ligustrum japonicum - - Japanese privet
Ligustrum sinensis -- Chinese privet
Rosa multiflora -- Multiflora rose
Mahonia bealei –- Leatherleaf mahonia
Mahonia nervosa – Cascade Oregon Grape
Lonicera japonica -- Japanese Honeysuckle
Hedera helix – English ivy
Grasses and sedges:
Phyllostachys aurea – Bamboo
Miscantus sinensis – Chinese silver grass
Pyrus Calleryana -- Callery Pear or Bradford Pear
I am certain that some of you have these in your yard-- I do. Rather than go to the effort and expense of removing them, be vigilant about their rapid growth and spread and select any new plantings to avoid these species.