Six Rivers CISMA EDRR Invasive Species of the Month – Coral Ardisia

Six Rivers CISMA EDRR Invasive Species of the Month – Coral Ardisia

EDRR Invasive Species

Coral Ardisia (Ardisia crenata)

photo courtesy of Les Harrison

Define Invasive Species: must have ALL of the following –

  • Is non-native to the area, in our case northwest Florida
  • Introduced by humans, whether intentional or accidental
  • Causing either an environmental or economic problem, possibly both

Define EDRR Species: Early Detection Rapid Response.  These are species that are either –

  • Not currently in the area, in our case the Six Rivers CISMA, but a potential threat
  • In the area but in small numbers and could be eradicated

 

Native Range:

Japan and northern India

 

Introduction:

Was introduced intentionally as an ornamental plant in the early 1900s.  In 1982 it escaped cultivation and spread through wooded areas of Florida and parts of the Gulf coast.

 

EDDMapS currently list 2,064 records of coral ardisia.  Most are in Florida but there are records in the Gulf states, Georgia, and South Carolina.  Records within Florida cover the state, but has not been reported from all counties.

 

Within Six Rivers CISMA there are 11 records including Baldwin, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Holmes Counties.

 

Description:

Coral ardisia grows in clumps, many times multi-stemmed in wooded areas.  It has long (8”) glossy leaves that are dark green in color and has scalloped margins.  The flowers are whiteish pink and droop below the leaf cover.  The fruit are bright red berries that also droop from the plant and are present much of the year.

 

Issues and Impacts:

Like many invasive plants, coral ardisia spreads aggressively replacing native plants where they can.  Though no published literature, it is believed to be toxic to livestock, pets, and humans.

It is a Category I invasive plant and a Florida Noxious Weed.  It is listed as prohibited by the UF IFAS Assessment.

 

Management:

Step 1 is to avoid planting coral ardisia in your landscape.  It is listed as a Florida noxious weed, and thus should not be sold, but transplanting is prohibited.  If it can be easily removed by hand from your landscape, do so before it goes to seed.  Be careful not to spread seeds.

 

Disking and/or burning can be effective however (a) most areas where coral ardisia grows prohibits disking and/or burning and (b) unless you removed all of the deep rhizomes it may return, so annual surveys are still needed.

 

Chemical treatments typically use the active ingredient triclopyr.  This herbicide can be applied directly to the leaves or by applying to the bark when the plant is relatively dry.  For large areas needing treatment the formulas may change.  Different mixtures can be found in the references below.  Annual retreatment may be required.  Contact your local county extension office if you have questions.

 

References

 

Ardisia crenata. 2022. University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.  https://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/plant-directory/ardisia-crenata/.

 

Ardisia crenata. 2019. University of Florida IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants. https://assessment.ifas.ufl.edu/assessments/ardisia-crenata/.

 

Sellers, B.A., Enloe, S.F., Minogue, P., Walter, J. 2021. Identification and Control of Coral Ardisia (Ardisia crenata): Potentially Poisonous Plant. University of Florida IFAS Electronic Digital Information System (EDIS) publication #SS AGR-276. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/AG281.

 

Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS)

https://www.eddmaps.org/

 

Six Rivers CISMA

https://www.floridainvasives.org/sixrivers/

Dirty Dozen Invasive Species of the Month – Kudzu

Dirty Dozen Invasive Species of the Month – Kudzu

Six Rivers “Dirty Dozen” Invasive Species

Kudzu (Pueraria montana)

Kudzu is an aggressive growing vine found throughout the southeast.
Photo: UF IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.

 

Define Invasive Species: must have all of the following –

  • Is non-native to the area, in our case northwest Florida
  • Introduced by humans, whether intentional or accidental
  • Causing either an environmental or economic problem, possibly both

Define “Dirty Dozen” Species:

These are species that are well established within the CISMA and are considered, by members of the CISMA, to be one of the top 12 worst problems in our area.

 

Native Range:

Eastern Asia.

 

Introduction:

Kudzu was first brought to the U.S. for the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876.  Seven years later it was presented at the New Orleans Exhibition.  Seed was sold to grow ornamental vines to shade porches and was also tried as livestock feed.  It now covers about 2 million acres of forest land in the southern U.S.

 

EDDMapS currently list 11,288 records of the plant in the U.S. As with many “dirty dozen” species, this is certainly under reported.  Most are in the southeastern U.S. but there are records in Kansas, Illinois, and Oregon.  It has been reported throughout the state of Florida including the Florida panhandle, and all of the Six Rivers CISMA.

 

Description:

This is a semi-woody vine that can grow up to 100 feet.  Most who have seen it, recognize it immediately.  The leaves are large (4”) and alternate on the vine forming three leaflets at each node.  The leaves are lobed with hairy margins.  The vines can reach 4” in diameter and one stump found in Georgia was 12” in diameter.  The flowers are purple in color, hang in clusters, and appear in late summer.

 

Issues and Impacts:

It grows almost anywhere and over almost anything.  Entire buildings have been completely covered by this plant and it has also been known to grow over and uproot trees.  Any vegetation it covers will soon die due to a lack of sunlight and it is also known to harbor insects and disease for native legumes, many of which are important agricultural crops, such as soybeans.  It is listed as a state noxious weed.

 

Management:

This is a tough plant to control.  It has been reported to grow as much as a foot a day.  The root and rhizomes system are extensive and reach depths of 10 feet.  There are also tubers that store excess carbohydrates that help with surviving drought, freezing, and even fires.

 

Herbicides are effective on small patches, though repeated applications may be needed.  They can be used on large areas of infestation but will certainly take repeated applications over years and can be very expensive.  Many will include burning, disking, or mowing before chemical applications to weaken the root system.  Chemicals that have had some success include glyphosate, chlopyraild, metsulfuron, and aminopyralid.

 

Many have had success using livestock grazing, such as goats or cattle.  Research has shown that close grazing, where 80% of more of the plant is removed, can completely eradicate it over a couple of years.  One source recommends eight goats / acre for best results.  Others have had some success by cutting the plant back (like grazing) during the hottest times of the year.

 

No biological controls have been approved yet, but research continues.

 

In Asia the plant is used in a variety of ways including food, fiber, and medicine.  These could be options for management as well.

 

For more information on this Dirty Dozen species, contact your local extension office.

 

References

 

University of Florida IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. Kudzu (Pueraria montana).  https://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/plant-directory/pueraria-montana/.

 

Frank, M.S. 2021. Five Facts: Kudzu in Florida.  Florida Museum of Natural History.  https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/science/five-facts-kudzu-in-florida/.

 

Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS)

https://www.eddmaps.org/

 

Six Rivers CISMA

https://www.floridainvasives.org/sixrivers/

Six Rivers EDRR Invasive Species of the Month – Argentine Black and White Tegu

Six Rivers EDRR Invasive Species of the Month – Argentine Black and White Tegu

EDRR Invasive Species

Black and White Argentine Tegu

(Salvator merianae)

The Argentine Black and White Tegu.
Photo: EDDMapS.org

 

Define Invasive Species: must have all of the following –

  • Is non-native to the area, in our case northwest Florida
  • Introduced by humans, whether intentional or accidental
  • Causing either an environmental or economic problem, possibly both

Define EDRR Species: Early Detection Rapid Response.  These are species that are either –

  • Not currently in the area, in our case the Six Rivers CISMA, but a potential threat
  • In the area but in small numbers and could be eradicated

Native Range:

The Argentine Black and White Tegu is native to South America.

 

Introduction:

The tegu was introduced to Florida through the pet trade.  Some animals either escaped or were released.

 

EDDMapS currently list 7,014 records of the Argentine Black and White Tegu in the U.S.  5,908 (84%) are from Miami-Dade County.  There are 12 records from Georgia and one from Memphis Tennessee.  The majority of records are from south Florida.

 

There are 12 records from the Florida panhandle and five within the Six Rivers CISMA.  The only confirmed breeding pairs are in Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, and Charlotte counties in Florida.

 

Description:

Tegus are long black and white banded lizards that can reach four feet in length.  They prefer high dry sandy habitats but can be found in a variety of habitats including agricultural fields.

 

Issues and Impacts:

Basically… they eat everything.  Being omnivores, stomach analysis indicates they will feed on fruits, vegetables, eggs, insects, and small animals.  These animals include lizards, turtles, snakes, lizards, and small mammals.  They feed primarily on ground dwelling creatures.  A typical tegu clutch will have 35 eggs.

 

The consumption of fruits and vegetables can have a major impact on agricultural row crops throughout Florida.  Their habit of consuming eggs would include the American alligator, the American crocodile, and the gopher tortoise – all protected species.

 

Records show the number of tegus trapped each year is growing, with over 1400 captured in 2019.  This suggests the populations are increasing and new breeding colonies are probable.  There are also records of the animal in north Florida and Georgia, suggesting they can tolerate the colder winters of those regions.

 

Management:

Management is currently with trapping.  Both the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and their subcontracted trappers are currently the primary method of removing the animals.  Researchers from the University of Florida as well as those mentioned above frequently conduct roadside surveys searching for these animals.  We ask anyone who has seen a tegu to report it on the IveGotOne App found on the EDDMapS website – www.eddmaps.org – or the website itself, and call your local extension office.

 

For more information on this EDRR species, contact your local extension office.

 

References

Control of Invasive Tegus in Florida. The Croc Docs. https://crocdoc.ifas.ufl.edu/projects/Argentineblackandwhitetegus/

 

Harvey, R.G., Dalaba, J.R., Ketterlin, J., Roybal, A., Quinn, D., Mazzotti, F.J. 2021. Growth and Spread of the Argentine Black and White Tegu Population in Florida.  University of Florida IFAS Electronic Data Information System. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/UW482

 

Harvey, R.G., Mazzotti, F.J. 2015. The Argentine Black and White Tegu in South Florida; Population, Spread, and Containment.  University of Florida IFAS Publication WEC360.

https://crocdoc.ifas.ufl.edu/publications/factsheets/tegufactsheet.pdf

 

Johnson, S.A., McGarrity, M. 2020. Florida Invader: Tegu Lizard. University of Florida Wildlife Ecology Conservation.  WEC295. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/UW/UW34000.pdf

 

Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS)

https://www.eddmaps.org/

 

Six Rivers CISMA

https://www.floridainvasives.org/sixrivers/

Pretty Face with a Bad Attitude:  The Invasive Chinese Tallow

Pretty Face with a Bad Attitude: The Invasive Chinese Tallow

The native Florida landscape definitely isn’t known for its fall foliage.  But as you might have noticed, there is one species that reliably turns shades of red, orange, yellow and sometimes purple, it also unfortunately happens to be one of the most significant pest plant species in North America, the highly invasive Chinese Tallow or Popcorn Tree (Triadica sebifera).

Chinese Tallow fall foliage. Photo courtesy of Daniel Leonard.

Native to temperate areas of China and introduced into the United States by Benjamin Franklin (yes, the Founding Father!) in 1776 for its seed oil potential and outstanding ornamental attributes, Chinese Tallow is indeed a pretty tree, possessing a tame smallish stature, attractive bark, excellent fall color and interesting white “popcorn” seeds.  In addition, Chinese Tallow’s climate preferences make it right at home in the Panhandle and throughout the Southeast.  It requires no fertilizer, is both drought and inundation tolerant, is both sun and shade tolerant, has no serious pests, produce seed preferred by wildlife (birds mostly) and is easy to propagate from seed (a mature

Chinese Tallow tree can produce up to 100,000 seeds annually!).  While these characteristics indeed make it an awesome landscape plant and explain it being passed around by early American colonists, they are also the very reasons that make the species is one of the most dangerous invasives – it can take over any site, anywhere.

While Chinese Tallow can become established almost anywhere, it prefers wet, swampy areas and waste sites.  In both settings, the species’ special adaptations allow it a competitive advantage over native species and enable it to eventually choke the native species out altogether.

In low-lying wetlands, Chinese Tallow’s ability to thrive in both extreme wet and droughty conditions enable it to grow more quickly than the native species that tend to flourish in either one period or the other.  In river swamps, cypress domes and other hardwood dominated areas, Chinese Tallow’s unique ability to easily grow in the densely shaded understory allows it to reach into the canopy and establish a foothold where other native hardwoods cannot.  It is not uncommon anymore to venture into mature swamps and cypress domes and see hundreds or thousands of Chinese Tallow seedlings taking over the forest understory and encroaching on larger native tree species.  Finally, in waste areas, i.e. areas that have been recently harvested of trees, where a building used to be, or even an abandoned field, Chinese Tallow, with its quick germinating, precocious nature, rapidly takes over and then spreads into adjacent woodlots and natural areas.

Chinese tallow seedlings colonizing a “waste” area. Photo courtesy of Daniel Leonard.

Hopefully, we’ve established that Chinese Tallow is a species that you don’t want on your property and has no place in either landscapes or natural areas.  The question now is, how does one control Chinese Tallow?

  • Prevention is obviously the first option. NEVER purposely plant Chinese Tallow and do not distribute the seed, even as decorations, as they are sometimes used.
  • The second method is physical removal. Many folks don’t have a Chinese Tallow in their yard, but either their neighbors do, or the natural area next door does.  In this situation, about the best one can do is continually pull up the seedlings once they sprout.  If a larger specimen in present, cut it down as close to the ground as possible.  This will make herbicide application and/or mowing easier.
  • The best option in many cases is use of chemical herbicides. Both foliar (spraying green foliage on smaller saplings) and basal bark applications (applying a herbicide/oil mixture all the way around the bottom 15” of the trunk. Useful on larger trees or saplings in areas where it isn’t feasible to spray leaves) are effective.  I’ve had good experiences with both methods.  For small trees, foliar applications are highly effective and easy.  But, if the tree is taller than an average person, use the basal bark method.  It is also very effective and much less likely to have negative consequences like off-target herbicide drift and applicator exposure.  Finally, when browsing the herbicide aisle garden centers and farm stores, look for products containing the active ingredient Triclopyr, the main chemical in brands like Garlon, Brushtox, and other “brush/tree & stump killers”.  Mix at label rates for control.

Despite its attractiveness, Chinese Tallow is an insidious invader that has no place in either landscapes or natural areas.  But with a little persistence and a quality control plan, you can rid your property of Chinese Tallow!  For more information about invasive plant management and other agricultural topics, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office!

References:

Langeland, K.A, and S. F. Enloe.  2018.  Natural Area Weeds: Chinese Tallow (Sapium sebiferum L.).  Publication #SS-AGR-45.  Printer friendly PDF version: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/AG/AG14800.pdf 

Aquatic Weed Control – Common Salvinia

Aquatic Weed Control – Common Salvinia

Common Salvinia Covering Farm pond in Gadsden County
Photo Credit – Shep Eubanks UF/IFAS Gadsden County Extension

Close up of common Salvinia
Photo Credit – Shep Eubanks UF/IFAS Gadsden County Extension

Aquatic weed problems are common in the panhandle of Florida.  Common Salvinia (Salvinia minima) is a persistent  invasive weed problem found in many ponds in Gadsden County. There are ten species of salvinia in the tropical Americas but none are native to Florida.  They are actually floating ferns that measure about 3/4 inch in length.  Typically it is found in still waters that contain high organic matter.  It can be found free-floating or in the mud.  The leaves are round to somewhat broadly elliptic, (0.4–1 in long), with the upper surface having 4-pronged hairs and the lower surface is  hairy.  It commonly occurs in freshwater ponds and swamps from the peninsula to the central panhandle of Florida.

Reproduction is by spores, or fragmentation of plants, and it can proliferate rapidly allowing it to be an aggressive invasive species. When these colonies cover the surface of a pond as pictured above they need to be controlled as the risk of oxygen depletion and fish kill is a possibility. If the pond is heavily infested with weeds, it may be possible (depending on the herbicide chosen) to treat the pond in sections and let each section decompose for about two weeks before treating another section. Aeration, particularly at night, for several days after treatment may help control the oxygen depletion.

Control measures include raking or seining, but remember that fragmentation propagates the plant. Grass carp will consume salvinia but are usually not effective for total control.   Chemical control measures include :carfentrazone, diquat, fluridone, flumioxazin, glyphosate, imazamox, and penoxsulam.

For more information reference these IFAS publications:

Efficacy of Herbicide Active ingredients Against Aquatic Weeds

Common salvinia

For help with controlling Common salvinia consult with your local Extension Agent for weed control recommendations, as needed.

The 2019 Emerald Coast Open: The Largest Lionfish Tournament in History

The 2019 Emerald Coast Open: The Largest Lionfish Tournament in History

The northwest Florida area has been identified as having the highest concentration of invasive lionfish in the world. Lionfish pose a significant threat to our native wildlife and habitat with spearfishing the primary means of control.  Lionfish tournaments are one way to increase harvest of these invaders and help keep populations down.

Located in Destin FL, and hosted by the Gulf Coast Lionfish Tournaments and the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Emerald Coast Open (ECO) is projected to be the largest lionfish tournament in history. The ECO, with large cash payouts, more gear and other prizes, and better competition, will attract professional and recreational divers, lionfish hunters and the general public.

You do not need to be on a team, or shoot hundreds of lionfish to win. Get rewarded for doing your part! The task is simple, remove lionfish and win cash and prizes! The pretournament runs from February 1 through May 15 with final weigh-in dockside at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar on Destin Harbor May 16-19.  Entry Fee is $75 per participant through April 1, 2019. After April 1, 2019, the entry fee is $100 per participant. You can learn more at the website http://emeraldcoastopen.com/, or follow the Tournament on Facebook.

The Emerald Coast Open will be held in conjunction with FWC’s Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival (LRAD), May 18-19 at AJ’s and HarborWalk Village in Destin. The Festival will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m each day. Bring your friends and family for an amazing festival and learn about lionfish, taste lionfish, check out lionfish products! There will be many family-friendly activities including art, diving and marine conservation booths.  Learn how to safely fillet a lionfish and try a lionfish dish at a local restaurant.  Have fun listening to live music and watching the Tournament weigh-in and awards.  Learn why lionfish are such a big problem and what you can do to help! Follow the Festival on Facebook!

 

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