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Invasive Species, Rhus Lancea

August 8, 2014 , , , ,

Invasive botanical species are like untended social problems. If they are ignored they will take over and eliminate the native species because they are powerful and destructive.  Rhus Lancea is an invasive species that is taking over midtown Tucson.  It was brought here as a landscape plant, but quickly got out of control.  It is a relative of poison ivy, and causes some people to have serious allergic reactions, either respiratory or as a skin rash.  It spreads by producing abundant seeds as well as by spreading underground by suckers.  If there is irrigation water, rhus lancea will be very likely to sprout and grow, taking nutrients and moisture from the native or landscape plants.  Since it develops such a network underground the tree is very difficult to kill.  Cutting it down will not kill it, but will encourage spreading through the roots.  It is like a street gang, very undesirable and hard to eliminate.

I have been thinking about how these invasive plants are like crime.  If everyone ignores crime like tagging, vandalism, and gang activity it sucks the nutrients and value out of the neighborhood.  If drug dealing and other crimes are tolerated they blend into the scene making the whole place less valuable and less safe.  With no awareness, or worse, willful blindness to criminal and anti social activity we can only expect the environment to fill with undesirable behaviors.  We have a vivid illustration of this right outside my front door.  We pay landscaping company to kill our landscaping plants and waste large amounts of water each day.  We (the owners of shares of our HOA)  have just paid to have what was described as a dying mesquite tree removed from our sidewalk.  Since it is not dying and is a rhus lancea, we have paid these gardeners to encourage the growth of all of the children of the tree, that have been left in place.  The stump will probably grow back again too.  If actions we take are based on ignorance we will not arrive at a better situation.  Can you think of situations like this that remind you of government?  Working against our own interests seems to be so common these days.

What do you think?

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comments

When I was in New Orleans I learnt that in some Bayous there are water hyacinth which are as well invasive since they are from Latin America. They multiply like crazy because they have not natural enemies in Louisiana. I never thought about this to be similar to crime or other social problems. But thinking of it again I see that you are right and it is comparable to social problems and has to be solved “from the root” which is different from patching up the symptoms.

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Brigitte Kobi

August 8, 2014

Thanks, Brigitte. Discernment early rather than late can turn the tide, but usually nobody is paying attention..like global warming.

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mermaidcamp

August 8, 2014

While we are rather sure where the plants come from or what the sources of social issues are we do not really know about global warming. Climate change is to be taken seriousely but the Dinosaurs died without us but by serious climate change. But for plants and crime it is definitely us who is the reason and only us who can cure.

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Brigitte Kobi

August 8, 2014

not good pam. We do mess too much with the world in my opinion

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London-Unattached.com

August 9, 2014

Invasive plants are obnoxious and almost noxious at times. Here in Calif .. bamboo has to be carefully watched as do other species of grass. To have something that could cause physical and personal harm.. that’s something the state or county should be ameliorating quickly

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Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

August 11, 2014

I know how to kill Rhus lancea. It’s a product I buy on Amazon called “Bonide Stump & Vine Killer.” I’ve been using it for several years but unable to find it in any Tucson garden shops. The product is not applied to soil and doesn’t poison any surroundings. It’s applied directly to the fresh-cut wound of the tree or sucker. I use it wherever a new sprout pops out of the ground and I cut them off. It’s like playing Whack-a-Mole, but if you’re attentive to sprout appearance, they don’t pop up again in the same place after treatment.Luckily for Tucsonans, Rhus lancea are dying off in hordes due to Texas Root Rot, and now can be replaced with better trees. The dead or dying trees will still keep trying to sprout offspring from any remaining trunk or traveling root systems. The Bonide Stump & Vine Killer will manage this. It’s about $13 each bottle.

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Thalya DeMott

July 9, 2016

Thanks very much Thayla. I wish that root rot would hit my ‘hood.

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Pamela Morse

July 9, 2016

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