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The Problem With Invasive Local Plants

Exotic plants have been sprouting up in Florida since European explorers made their way to our shores hundreds of years ago. Currently there are over 1,400 plants that are non-native to the region. Many of those support human health and our economy, but a small percent cause major problems.

These problematic plants are known as invasive, which means they’re non-native to the ecosystem, grow aggressively, spread quickly, and displace other plants. They’re also likely to cause economic, environmental and human health issues.

While many invasive plants are in the Everglades, coastlines and marshes, others are being used for landscaping. Tour a local nursery and you’re likely to see several of these plants, many of which are pleasing to the eye, like the Mexican Petunia, the Rattle Box and the Javanese Glorybower.

Florida’s climate is so hospitable that invasive plants thrive here. In fact, the cost of managing Florida’s invasive plants is estimated at $100 million each year. If you have one that you would like to get rid of, you’ll need to follow the vine back to its starting point and cut the stem off. Then pour herbicide into the fresh cut, being very careful not to spill any on other plants around it. You’ll have to repeat the “cut and pour” process several times; possibly even over more than one growing season, before you prevail. But you will eventually take back your garden.

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