While most people may view the invasive plant species common in Massachusetts as a mere annoyance, they actually have negative impacts that are serious and far-reaching. While they do make landscaping more of a chore, they can also negatively affect water quality, biodiversity, the local fish and wildlife habitat, tree cover, pose a fire risk, and are costly. That’s quite a rap sheet.
Thankfully, Swazy Alexander/ Green Sphere is available to help throughout the Newburyport area of Massachusetts. We have years of experience dealing with the local strains of invasive plant species. We can easily identify the culprits and devise effective strategies for ridding them from your property and keeping them away. Let’s dive into some more details about why you should be concerned about invasive plant species in your own backyard, and why you should contact us for removal services immediately.
Invasive Plants Affect Water Quality
Whenever invasive plants, especially species of ivy, dominate groundcover, the soil underneath can suffer from the lack of a strong root system to hold everything together. While this may seem inconsequential at first, when large areas of earth like this are subjected to heavy rainfall, they can very easily erode. Native plants, however, tend to have deep root systems that help soil integrity remain intact. When erosion occurs, excess sediment can be released into rivers and streams, potentially harming the water quality.
Negative Impact on Biodiversity
Do you know what the leading cause of native biodiversity loss is? Surprise — it’s invasive plant species! Invasive plants tend to spread quickly, displacing native plants, preventing their growth, and creating what is called a “monoculture,” as in “one culture,” an environment dominated by a single species. Healthy environmental ecosystems have a diversity of plant species, including herbs, shrubs, and trees. Invasive plants do just that — invade and take over, reducing natural diversity. This leads to the next point . . .
Harm to Wildlife
When changes in an environment’s plant diversity occur, it can reduce both the quality and the quantity of native fish and wildlife habitats. This occurs so often that invasive plants are listed as a significant contributing factor to dwindling animal and plant populations in the Endangered Species Act.
The truth is that having a variety of plant food and cover allows more animal populations to thrive. When invasive monocultures form, native animal populations can be driven away. It’s also possible that invasive plant species provide unwanted habitats for invasive animal species, leading to a very complicated situation.
Diminished Tree Cover
Invasive plant species have a tendency to completely take over an environment, and this can be very detrimental to tree growth. Invasive plants can make it very difficult for native trees to become established and take root. This leads to native tree species falling down far too prematurely, drastically reducing their growth rate, or outright preventing them from growing at all.
For example, take the local scourge of Oriental Bittersweet, an invasive ivy introduced from Asia in the 1860s in an effort to, ironically, control soil erosion. Dense cover by this prolific vine can prevent sunlight from adequately reaching seedlings. Should Bittersweet begin taking over established trees, it can dramatically reduce its growth rate by usurping sunlight and preventing it from reaching the leaves of the tree and literally will chock them to death.
Increased Fire Risk
Monocultures have a nasty tendency to become fuel for wildfires. When different species of ivy climb trees, they can essentially become a highway for fires to reach into the tree canopy. A dense environment of invasive plants can even increase the frequency of wildfires. While these species may thrive early on in the growing season, they can potentially become dry kindling at the time when our native landscape is most vulnerable.
Invasive Plant Removal Services by Green Sphere
We hope that we’ve been able to accurately convey the importance of dealing with invasive plant species on your property here in Massachusetts. Green Sphere is well-versed and extremely capable of identifying these plants and devising a plan of action to have them removed expeditiously. If you’re reading this in the winter months, it is actually the perfect time to deal with the problem! During these dormant months, we can be precise and exacting in our removal process. We do, however, also offer this service year-round. Contact us today for a free quote and assessment!