Non-Native Invasive Plants on Florida Timberland

Much of Florida’s timberland is under foreign invasion. With each passing day, new foreign plant species are introduced into Florida lands, spreading and reproducing like wildfire throughout the state. These foreign plants compete for essential nutrients that the plants and trees we want to grow need to survive and thrive. Non-native invasive plants increase land management costs, reduce productivity, and have a significant affect on biodiversity. When purchasing timberland for sale in Florida, it is very important to keep these details in mind.

What Are Non-Native Invasive Plants?

Non-native invasive plants are plants that are not native to the U.S., specifically Florida. These plants are generally introduced through intentional or accidental exposure to Florida lands by human activity for ornamental/horticultural purposes, agricultural purposes, or simply accidental introduction. When these plants become established in timberland, they quickly spread, disrupting and altering native ecosystems and competing with native species for vital nutrients. Here are four common invaders of Florida timberland for sale and the dangers of these invasive plant species.

Cogongrass

Cogongrass was introduced to the southern U.S. in the early 1900’s as a plant for forage and erosion control, and can be found throughout Florida and other southeastern states on roadsides, mining sites, borrow pits, and in areas where the soil has been disturbed. This invasive plant species is listed as one of the top 10 worst weeds in the world and is known to be a problem plant in 73 countries. Infestations of cogongrass can lead to a decrease in pine seedling survival, and due to the flammable oils in its grass blades, can lead to the destruction of overstory trees during unintentional or prescribed fires.

Japanese Climbing Fern

The Japanese climbing fern is another invasive plant species that was introduced during the 1900’s and originates from Eastern Asia. This invasive plant is well established in the Apalachicola River and in Florida’s panhandle, and is easily spread by water, wind, and wildlife. In Florida, Japanese climbing fern is considered to be a noxious weed. Because of its classification as a noxious weed, movement of timber or other forest products that are contaminated with the plant’s fronds or spores is prohibited.

Kudzu

Kudzu was imported from East Asia and promoted to southern farmers, ranchers, and foresters for use as forage and erosion control. Many farmers were even compensated for planting Kudzu on their properties. An infestation of Kudzu on timberland for sale in Florida can potentially cause losses of up to $48 per acre in annual productivity value. Kudzu can easily grow overtop and kill entire tree stands, and prevent light penetration and photosynthesis to other plants.

Chinese Privit

Chinese privit is a shade-tolerant, tall, evergreen-leaved shrub that was introduced to the south in 1852 from Asia. This invasive plant species is often used as a hedge or ornamental plant and is spread by bird-dispersed seeds and underground runners. It is commonly found in Florida’s panhandle, floodplains, hammocks, pinelands, and open areas of disturbed land. Chinese privit is known to form dense, solid stands that prevent pine and hardwood regeneration, restrict access to land and make land management of tree stands very difficult.

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