Tag Archives: invasive

Reconsider Chaste trees: try native bottlebrush buckeye

Karan Rawlins I spoke to Karan Rawlins of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health (bugwood.org) at the SoGa Growing Local & Sustainable Conference in Tattnall County 26 January 2013 (coming to Lowndes County next year).

A Homeowner s Guide to Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Plants in Georgia At the mention of Chaste Tree, she picked up a copy of A Homeowner’s Guide to Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Plants in Georgia, and turned to page 6, which says:

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Tree Commission offers Chaste trees wholesale

Tree Commission offers Chaste trees wholesale The Valdosta Tree Commission is offering Chaste trees “to citizens at wholesale prices with the hopes of planting 100 trees in the city limits”, but this may actually be a bad idea, since this species is exotic, does not support local insects and birds, and in Texas has become invasive.

The Tree Commission’s writeup says this tree:

“has no serious pest problems and attract butterflies to the garden.”

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, by Douglas Tallamy That first phrase is a red flag after reading Dr. Douglas Tallamy’s book, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Local insects mostly cannot eat exotic plants, and local birds eat local insects, so planting exotic trees may look good, but is not helpful to native insects and birds. Yes, Chaste trees may attract some butterflies, but how many, compared to native trees? And “no serious pest problems” means not many native insects munching on the leaves or stems of the tree.

So what to plant instead? See next post.

The City of Valdosta posted PR 3 January 2013, VTC Offers Chaste Trees at Wholesale Prices to Encourage Tree Planting,

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Bioengineered Eucalyptus to Replace Pine Trees?

As Steve’s Forestry Blog noted last summer:
ArborGen made a request to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to plant 260,000 flowering genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees over 330 acres in seven states. USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is processing this request. Several plantations already exist in Florida and Alabama.

The tree is Eucalyptus grandis x urophylla. The plant is a cold-hardy eucalyptus that ArborGen is developing for future commercial purposes, mainly pulp for paper.

Paul Voosen writes in Scientific American that
Even given government incentives and a price on carbon, however, ArborGen must satisfy concerns from regulators and environmental groups that its engineered trees will not, especially when gifted with the ability to resist cold, spread untrammeled through forests.
It’s easy to see pollen from such trees blowing onto neighboring land and new trees growing. And, given the tactics of a certain other GM plant producer, it’s easy to see the patent owner sueing the adjacent landowner for patent theft, even though the patented plant trespassed. This is the level of assurance that that won’t happen:
“When you talk about trees, storms happen, wind blows,” he said. “The containment is not absolute. There is the chance of some spread. Is it likely to become an invasive weed? Seems unlikely to me.”
Not very reassuring. Meanwhile, the test stations continue to spread: Continue reading