Current Invasives in Arkansas

Invasive pests are not new.

Invasive pests have been around for many years, although we only recently have recognized that we have a problem with invasive pests.  Most of our established invasive pests were brought here on purpose, some as potential crop plants and many as ornamental plants.  Many of them are so widespread now that we have little chance of ever exterminating them.  To compound the problem, many of them are still being spread by use as ornamental plants.

Why would ornamental plants be an invasive pest problem?  The answer is, “Because they are invasive pests.”  They spread.  Plants have many methods for propagating themselves.  Some spread by sprouting from roots, some spread by using the wind to distribute seeds, and some spread by using animals to distribute seeds.  Regardless of my efforts to keep an ornamental invasive pest confined to my yard, it is going to escape by some means sooner or later.

How widespread is the problem?  As a field forester, I spent many hours each week working in forests.  Every one of those forests contained escaped or abandoned ornamental plants.  Many of those ornamental plants were not a problem or were only a very localized problem.  However, about 0.1% of the non-native plants we bring to this country turn out to be invasive pests.  They invade our landscapes aggressively.

The following links lead to information about some of the major ornamental invasive pests.

Chinese Tallow

Tree of Heaven

Mimosa

Privet

Wisteria

Japanese honeysuckle

Trifoliate orange

Parsol tree