‘Super Invader’ Tree hits South, but Flea Beetle may be the Hero

The tallow tree, a “super invader” with toxic leaves and no natural enemies in North America, is conquering the South.

Overtaking forests from Texas to Florida, tallows grow three times faster than most native hardwoods, and each one casts off 100,000 seeds a year. Controlled burns haven’t stopped their spread, nor have herbicide sprays from helicopters. Cutting them down works only when each stump is immediately doused with chemicals. Harvesting them for biofuel remains more a promise than a practical solution.  Click on the following paragraph to access the full story.

“Tallows take advantage of disturbances,” said Nancy Loewenstein, an invasive plant specialist at Auburn University. “Storms, floods, construction sites, logging sites, anything that disrupts the environment will give an invasive like tallow an opportunity to take over.”

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