opabinia51
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Invasives

Here is a list for Canada of some of the invasive plants that you should NOT plant in your garden. Only plant invasives if you are an avid gardener who keeps up with his/her weeding. These plants can really get away from you and choke out local flora and fauna.

Anyway, enough said:

https://www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/publications/inv/index_e.cfm

I think in the US each state has an invasive list so, if people want to post their local state's list up, that would be great.
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OH invasive species list

Here's the Ohio list:

https://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Portals/3/invasive/pdf/OHIO%20INVASIVE%20PLANTS.pdf

You will note that some of the same species are on both, shows how widespread they are!

Glossy buckthom (Rhamnus frangula)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

(and others)

garlic mustard and japanese honeysuckle shrub are the two I battle most, but we also have around here tons of Tree-of-Heaven and rosa multiflora... And lots of woods including my little spot over-run with English ivy.

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The California Encycloweedia can be found at

https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/ipc/encycloweedia/encycloweedia_hp.htm

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paul wheaton
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Just as a nutty permaculture perspective: a lot of things that are considered invasive are excellent permaculture plants. Scotch broom is a popular example. A nitrogen fixer. Indicating low N in the soil. A good plant to keep around until you have something better to plant there - then when you take it out, the soil is mighty rich.

And then there's the whole thing about douglas fir trees being the invasive some some time ago (500 years?)
Last edited by paul wheaton on Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Paul, I gotta ask... :?

How can we ever consider an invasive plant permaculture, when it is not ecologically sustainable by definition? If the non-native plant replaces enough native biomass, then according to what I understand, we will get attending losses of insects (usually around 25-30% of insects in any area won't have enzymes to digest the non-native plants). Then we lose some birds or frogs or fish that were counting on those bugs. And the plants that were counting on the insect to pollinate them don't reproduce and guess who fills that spot? Ad infinitum, ad nauseum, ad mortis.

Isn't sustainability part of permaculture? So shouldn't preserving the ecosystem be the very first step in permaculture?

IMHYVO (In My Humble Yet Vociferous Opinion :lol: )

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IMOO (in my obnoxious opinion) ...

A decent answer to your question is about two chapters in a book. A complete answer would be a few books.

First, there is the whole thing about native plants: for nearly all natives, at one point they were invasives! So then when you say "native" you really have to define a point in time.

Next, if we wanna stick to scotch broom: while it is considered an invasive, didn't it move into N-deficient land where there was little else growing. Further, with the scotch broom showing up, didn't it improve the eco system?

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Hey Paul,

I like Bill Cullina's definition of pre-European plants as native. Sure, corn is introduced, but not a rampant replacer of more suitable variety and provenance... the real issues are Eurasians moved here by, well, us. Gardeners. Farmers. Us.

Cytisus "improved" this N-deficient land, but what was the ecosystem it is replacing? Perhaps low N is a definition of such a system. For instance the Pacific Northwest is particularly plagued with it, and it is often boreal forest soils there. Boreal forests tend toward fungal soil systems, fungal systems tend to be acidic and tend to keep the the N as ammoniacal sourcing, made available to evergreen trees through mycorhizal symbiots (evergreen trees are about the most reliant on mycorrhizae, as a group). Not a lot of plant available N; horrible for growing a crop. But who's trying to grow a crop? This soil wants to be a forest...

So if by improvement you mean changing over an ecosystem to suit our needs, then by all means, broom is a winner. But where do we draw the lines? How do we even begin to know the long term effects of such shifting? How do we arrest our eco-transformation if we want to? These are the questions that keep me up. Until we have better understanding of ecosytemic construction (mankind has yet to make a working sustainable ecosystem by design) shouldn't we be taking care of the working ones we have? And taking notes rather than doling out suggestions? Aren't we invasives of a sort ourselves? :wink:

Your opinion is neither obnoxious or unwanted. It is a very real topical concern and a conversation we all should be having, even with ourselves, before we choose plants for our gardens and fields. Thanks for bringing it up... :)

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I'm just going to ramble:

There's the difference between good-behaved non-natives vs. invasives that take over.

Difference between a stray seed or few, blown in on Hurricane X winds vs. wholescale planting by humans in the name of LANDSCAPING, which subsequently escapes cultivation -- maybe due to seed transported on the windshield well of exhaust fume pumping vehicle.

Non-native INVASIVES that DOESN'T support native wildlife, taking over an eco-system and resulting in marked decline in wildlife diversity.

Non-natives that also accidentally introduced non-native pests that are perfectly happy to eat NATIVE plants -- like Japanese Beetles, etc. If they would just stick to eating the invasives from home like Japanees bittersweet and honeysuckle... :roll:

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Okay AS, (he said, playing Devil's advocate :twisted: )

What about Phyllostachys bamboo? Clonally invasive but only comes to seed about every hundred years, certainly not on the menu for any native species I know (even soil biology has a tough time with this one). Yet we could crop it in small, incredibly dense culture, make paper from the hurds, flooring, utensiles, cloth, plastic, etc. etc. from the plants, cut it down every year and get a bigger getter crop next year, saving the land we don't use for wilderness, yet it remains by your defination, an invasive. Should we grow it here?

And ain't I a stinker? :wink:

See, while I don't like broom in particular, (or beach rose or barberry or burning bush) for it's prolific seed generation and attendent distribution systems (feeding the birds is a double-edged sword here), I don't think we should rule any plants out until the cost/benefit analysis is in. There are ways we can work with some of these plants. But there are others that need to be reviewed, curtailed, and disposed of. The industry will NOT effectively self-regulate; they have made that clear by their response to resonable and considered legislation, and considering the messes self-regulation have led to lately (anyone for a quick lesson in credit default swaps?), it's probably not the best idea anyway.

That leaves we, the people, to figure out what is right and good, and purchase accordingly. This is at it's heart an ethical question, with some scientific overtones to be sure, but mostly a question of right and wrong, good and bad. In matters of ecological right and wrong, I always fall back to the [url=https://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/landethic.html]Land Ethic of Aldo Leopold[/url]... I offer a bit here...
This thumbnail sketch of land as an energy circuit conveys three basic ideas:

1.That land is not merely soil.
2.That the native plants and animals kept the energy circuit open; others may or may not,
3.That man-made changes are of a different order than evolutionary changes, and have effects more comprehensive than is intended or foreseen
These ideas, collectively, raise two basic issues: Can the land adjust itself to the new order? Can the desired alterations be accomplished with less violence?
Can our non-native plants fit in these parameters? IF they can fit into a niche with little or no replacement of existing species, IF they do not overtax available resources, IF they are not favored by humans above the original citizens of the biota to a point of advantage, THEN they MIGHT fit, assuming no other changes in the biota that exacerbate any point of Aldo's or my criteria.

Lot of ifs, but I think the bamboo fits. So never say never, there are always exceptions. But let's make sure from top to bottom of the food chain first...

HG
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How do you do that? (You keep generally inspiring me to think and re-think exactly the sort of things I want to think about... )

Bamboo is precisely the one invasive plant that I've been struggling with Re: to plant or not to plant. It's on the menu for ME! :lol: (not necessarily native species, I grant) I can also see me using it for garden support structures and other uses. Obviously not so much paper and other more intensely processed uses in my case, but useful none-the-less... AS LONG AS I CAN KEEP AHEAD OF IT.

That last big IF, as well as DH's rather strong objections AND realistic despair over the likelihood of any subsequent homeowner's willingness to keep up with it (and therefore, the downward tendency to property value)... you get the idea. It doesn't help that on a frequently used route to a local mall, there is a house that is DISAPPEARING behind a solid stand of bamboo. I should take a photo while it's still there -- the old lady who owned the house passed away couple of years ago, and it very likely that the nephew who inherited the house will be doing "something" about the bamboo.

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Bamboo does not sprout from a culm once the culm has been apically arrested (science talk for "Cut the top and it's stops growing, above the soil, anyway) The Chinese control stands by simply kicking over any culms outside the desired area in early spring... they snap easy when they are young and full of water (edible stage)

So containing our roots is the issue. There is commercially available bamboo barrier, but you need to dig a four foot trench to install it, and it doesn't sound like DH is going to pitch in to that extent, if at all. So how about a fifty five gallon blue plastic food drum, bottom perfed full of holes, a few inches of gravel, then soil from the hole, and then your boo shoots? Leave about an inch or two of the rim above grade (those roots will hop shorter, but still easily taken care of, in any stead). Still not a small hole, but hire some local kids (if there are any not inside on their Gameboys) :roll:

Should be enough shoots and poles for most folk; if not, repeat process. Easily taken out or transplanted, contained nicely and without chems or undue toil. I will be sure to warn you about flowering, but if you are using Phyllostachys, and I remember right, we should have a couple, eight or nine decades to go... :wink:

Invasives are often about how they are handled; good practices lead to good things, bad practices lead to bad things. Some are simply not controllable and shouldn't be grown or used based on that. You know the ones; look in your woods and fields...

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Nature doesn't waste an invasive disaster. It's the humans that suffer, along with other animals higher up the food chain.

Case in point: the earthworm. It came here through Jamestown, and radically altered North American ecosystems at breakneck speeds. The indigenous humans couldn't keep up, but the invading humans needed earthworms for their farming techniques. Preserving habitat is a choice only a human could make. And a good one, if you are are a human who depends on measured change. It's not the concept of altering nature that is wrong, it's doing it without knowing the consequences first. Which unfortunately, is what we tend to do.

But let's not get too righteous. WE are invasive. Let's just make sure we don't work against ourselves by creating more imbalance than we can handle.
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Word

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"Where do we draw the line?"

And there, my friends, is the opening for a book on the subject. And that book will have to sacrifice accuracy for brevity. So then you write 100 volumes on the subject. And while those 100 volumes might cover all currently knowledge, the next 40 years will prove a third of it wrong.

It is a rich space.

Another view: if you are talking about a garden, well, okay, you can pluck out the things you don't want rather easily. But if you are talking about something more along the lines of 100 acres, the challenges shift.

In a permaculture system, I think scotch broom is such an excellent example. It is greatly feared by so many and yet it has so many excellent values. And where it pops up on its own, it clearly is adapted to that patch of soil. If you cut it to have something else use that space, it has a lot of N-rich biomass. It actually makes soil better for other plants.

I think if I was headed out to take some plants out, I would take out a douglas fir before I would take out scotch broom. The douglas fir is allelopathic (makes the soil icky for other plants).

So then we get into the whole natives thing.

And then we can examine the space: of all of the things we eat, how much are native?

And then we can examining the space: what might be the overall expense of postponing the inevitable homogenization of all species. I think I tried to figure this out for just one state once and it would be 10's of trillions of dollars to establish and then trillions of dollars to maintain. And all we can do is slow it down.

I think it is grand to have museum plots of natives and to maintain species that might otherwise become extinct. But requiring folks to eliminate invasives from their land is just another form of tax for goofiness. That said, I do think there are some allelopathic species worth attempting to control. But ....

Well, as I said .... this topic is far too rich for a forum thread.

I think money and effort could be 30 times more efficient with just a little more intelligence behind the efforts.

And, as with many things polyculture and diversity resolve a lot of this stuff.

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"mankind has yet to make a working sustainable ecosystem by design"

I think that this is the root of permaculture. And it has been demonstrated many times. I know that there have been several demonstrations in australia. A famous case is where a desert was transformed and "thornless honey locust" was one of the species used. Only when thornless honey locust drops seeds a lot of the babies have thorns. So the new problem is that the area is infested with the nasty thorns. So they went from an area with nothing to having a thorn problem.

Another rather famous example: have you seen the short animation "the man who planted trees" - apparently based on a true story.

And then there is geoff lawton's interesting work in ... I think it is Jordan? There is a followup youtube showing that same land seven years later. They cared for it for two years and then it was abandoned for five. It was an open wasteland of salt, sand and rocks and now .... wow ... jungle-ish.

We cannot make this sort of thing in a sterile test tube, but permaculture does teach us just enough so we can set up some scaffolding for nature to fill in the blanks.

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The reason why we working on eradicating foreign invasives is not in search of some mythical purity, but in service of diversity. The trouble with the exotic invasives is that they have no built in biocontrols in their new location and so they outcompete and take over. Soon a diverse forest ecosystem is reduced to monoculture. I have watched it happen -- we have a little 5 acre woods behind my Quaker Meeting (read church). It had been planted with some English ivy and vinca. When I first came there, in 1971 there were still tons of native wildflowers. Over the years I've been walking that little plot the Japanese honeysuckle and the ivy and vinca have taken it over to the point that little else is left. And when the big trees (stately beeches, buckeyes, oaks) fall, they are not being replaced, because the honeysuckle crowds out the seedlings. Lately we are now trying to save our woods, but even with just 5 acres it's a big job and I fear we have left it pretty late. In 1968 when we bought the property, we all knew less about all this stuff and sort of assumed it would be self-sustaining if we just left it alone. Not so!

I have a tiny native woodland shade garden myself, which I am also trying to protect from the Japanese honeysuckle shrub, english ivy etc. I also pull bushels of white snakeroot. The white snakeroot is native (it was almost the only native plant there when I bought the property, which should have told me something) but very aggressive spreader. It also chokes out lots of other things and smothers diversity.

Do I need to explain why diversity is a good thing or will we stipulate to that?

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I hope you don't think I disagree with any of what you just said? Your statement and mine are complementary, not opposed. I would say my statement leads directly to yours, and we have already accelerated change to unmanageable levels.

As HG would say: word.

if we are talking policy, I support an outright ban on the importation of all exotic organisms for at least the next 200 years, even if it means shutting down certain markets or travel. On a personal ethical level, I feel the same way. I also feel a shipping company that brings exotics to an ecosystem should be liable for the economic damage.
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I'm with you on the broad strokes, Paul, but the devil is indeed in the details...
I think if I was headed out to take some plants out, I would take out a douglas fir before I would take out scotch broom. The douglas fir is allelopathic (makes the soil icky for other plants).
What ecosystem are we starting from in this example? Perhaps it is more the entire biotic guild around the douglas fir (almost completely fungal) that is "allelopathic". Western bracken for instance is often found around dougs, and has a[url=https://www.springerlink.com/content/m2065476g5255558/]pronounced allelopathic response[/url]itself. So if you are pushing nitrogen needy plants, a boreal forest soil is NOT going to work well. It was never meant to.

Broom fixes atmospheric nitrogen (well, not without the symbiotic relation to the bacteria that live in it's nodes, it doesn't, but that just shows how complex these relationships can be). Nitrogen (starting as ammonia in the natural cycle) is bacterial food, almost exclusively. So if the idea is to move the fungally dominated soil to a bacterially dominated soil, the broom is a good addition. But in a biotic ecosystem set up mostly around fungal relationship, how welcome is the push for bacteria? Let's not forget that soil succesion is ALWAYS striving towards fungal dominance, so in some ways, nitrogen fixing can be seen as arresting natural progression!

The initial point I was making that natural systems need Nature. As Paul said, we haven't been able to do this in a test tube. Or a Biosphere. Twice. :roll: So the natural systems are integral to our continued existence, despite our nearly complete lack of knowledge on the finer points, yet we continue to manipulate these systems completely in our favor without thought to the possible damage. As toil said, "It's not the concept of altering nature that is wrong, it's doing it without knowing the consequences first. Which unfortunately, is what we tend to do." Spot on. So if we can use native clovers and vetches, or non-invasive crops like peas and soy to fix nitrogen, why would we keep an invasive like broom?

Paul is right, we eat dang few natives despite the obvious. Everyone raves about pomegrante and acai as antioxidants, but the blueberries and serviceberries in my yard blow those two out of the water for anthocyanin content. Why does familiarity breed contempt? We have beautiful, useful and edible plants in abundance in our wilds, yet we eschew these in favor of an Asian jack-in-the-pulpit, or a European hellebore. I am reminded of the old Thoreau quote about being far less interested in the businessman's account of how he got his pineapples to market than the report of a child's first time "a-berrying" (Hank was just silly for "a-berrying" and "a-nutting"). It is a pardigm worth exploring as we think these deep thoughts...

Paul, you also are correct about the breadth of this topic. It is mammoth; it takes not just science but philosophy and ethics into its folds, meaning it is something we will not all concur on or even find common ground within the scope of discussion here. But I could not agree less that it is beyond this forum, fodder only for some singular author's learned tome. Indeed, if the Web (be it the electronic or soil food version) has taught us anything, it is that in gathering diversity, we gather strength and resilience, and find optimal solutions for the group, and allowing any single organism or meme a place of dominance invariably leads to trouble...

So this is EXACTLY the place to discuss this sort of thing :wink:

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Toil wrote:I also feel a shipping company that brings exotics to an ecosystem should be liable for the economic damage.
Oof.....

[url=https://www.richsoil.com/sepp-holzer/sepp-holzer-permaculture.jsp]Sepp Holzer[/url] has a grain that is utterly amazing. It is simply a variety of perennial rye. The russians fiddled with it for a few decades. And now Sepp has fiddled with it a few decades. I would really like some. But even though the same species is available super cheap here in the states, I cannot import that grain. Nor can I go over there, get a bag of it and bring it over here. But companies here in the US can create frankenseed and plant it willy nilly.

Further, the most you can do is slow the homoginization. And if you spend trillions of dollars, you can barely make a dent. And frankly, I don't want my tax dollars going to something like that.

If you wanna fight something, or get the gub'mint to force something, I think all the native stuff should be on the back burner until we get rid of the GMO stuff. I think the whole GMO thing scares me a thousand times more than the scariest exotic invasive.
Last edited by paul wheaton on Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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I'm not sure I follow, and I am sure my education is too meager to comment on ryegrass. So in my case, at least, importing it is unethical. I can't judge your desire though, as I am too ignorant.

But is this a choice between gmo or exotics? I suddenly feel some heavy despair...
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TAlk about topics too big for primetime! :lol:

Not to go too far off-topic, but like any other topic, GMO is multi-sided. I've a cousin who was in on the ground floor of GM, and the first two things they cranked out were a new wheat that tripled production and a GM has gone of the tracks is the commercialization and industrialization of food, in particular Monsanto's Round-up Ready lines. Now we are engineering the the genes, not simply selecting from nature; Man is truly tampering in Nature's domain. (Seems that there are[url=https://www.healthforyou.org/g/gm/biotech3.htm]multiple deletorious effects associated with this RUR stuff that we are JUST starting to find out[/url]. Like this [url=https://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm]new study[/url]. Seems it RUR corn does a number on male sex organs in male mammals. Nice to know after 70% of the corn and 80% of the soy in this country are now RUR :evil: ).

How about the fact that a poor potato farmer in Maine, who never used the nasty stuff, but got sued by Monsanto because their genes got loose in his fields :evil: And of course you may not keep seed from year to year; you don't own the technology rights. So we get mutation causing food at increasing price so Monsanto can rule the world? THAT's where GMO gets evil. It is a tool, like an axe or shovel. If I am chopping wood and digging potatoes, they are good tools; if I am chopping up coeds and digging holes to bury them, they are bad tools.

Same with many invasives Paul. Where they fall is in how you use them... But some are just bad, like RUR, and shouldn't be done at all... even [url=https://www.safe2use.com/poisons-pesticides/pesticides/organo/glyphosate.htm]Round-up is questionable[/url]

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I think my argument is based on human history, rather than scientific certainty or doubt. It's the intellectual equivalent of never again touching the pretty red ouchy thing that makes your skin sizzle and blister.

Remember, we had plenty of science telling us it was ok to introduce asian carp, as long as they were isolated waters. doh!
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Sepp's climate is almost identical to mine. He has carefully selected the best seed growing on the worst soils for decades. He now has a perennial grain that grows over eight feet tall on awful soil that is easy to harvest by hand. Further, the stalks fall over throughout the winter to feed pigs and chickens all winter without any human harvesting.

No GMO involved.

Seed selected for the small farmer, not for big ag.

Seed selected for growing in a [url=https://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums]permaculture[/url] polyculture, not for monocrops with sprays.

I really want some of that seed - but it is illegal.
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Well I'd certainly support developing something like that here! We can do it if we shift our subsidies away from corn.

But i'd also like to make sure only someone disinterested evaluates importation rules. I'm a fox myself, and know that I should not guard hens.
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Speaking of Round-Up Ready GMO corn and soybeans, DuPont just got a judgment vs. Monsanto.

No good guys here, but whatever it takes...

https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/comments/view?f=/n/a/2010/01/16/financial/f110609S96.DTL

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Hello :)

Interesting thread. I would like to share part of my experience and thoughts.

The area I live in has been various types of forests, and even a sea or ocean I think.

Humans are rather invasive I would say. Is there something wrong with that? now as humans we decide to disrupt the environ, in many unneeded ways. ants will spread far and wide, most species, even many types of plants, and trees fight to adapt to new areas, and or spread their seed in whatever form as far as possible.

ever look at a massive ant hill? Im sure ants of all types are around, but where I live they appear to "weed" or de-seed or otherwise hinder growth of plants in a circle around their mound. they travel for food much much farther then this circle, so it doesnt seem to be in relation to food. Likely keep roots out of their area.

My point being as a living being I DO believe we have the right to alter the landscape to meet our needs. as humans we have a much greater potential for this then other species. Meaning we can do much better things then other can or much much worse.

What would humans living as true stewards look like?

Do you know humans have left deserts behind in many areas around the world? various issues caused this, but a big part of it is various relationships of water in the soils, water tables, how they relate to biomass then the climate. It seems as we alter, the land to support less and less, and other ways we let the soils slowly die, various trigger points can happen, over time making the area more and more arid, and barren.

For instance in africa now. the river was dammed, in general the soil does not retain water well, so it all goes to the river, flooding it greatly, and then the standing waters have a chance to sink in better, and hit the water tables which stretch much farther then the flooding. so this is throwing many many things out of whack over time, making already rough soils rougher and drier. Making the land retain even less water.

SO, they could take the damns off the rivers..... OR we could find ways to retain present water, which either runs to the river, then floods before it sinks in well, OR we could work to retain it on site.

In my area I read the soil retains only 50 percent of present water. Things I have read imply a simple thick mulch/organic matter, bedding can take water retention to 80 or 90 percent. Basically 60-80 percent more water.

Then we come to the fact nearly everything we eat in this country is not native. The problem is not non natives or even "invasives". It is things which throw the eco system out of whack or are so invasive they cant be controlled.

When I contemplate humans role in this amazing reality we find ourselves in, I come to the conclusion our very existence might be to be a hand in balancing the eco systems. Keeping things vibrant. stirring the compost heap from time to time. and DIRECTED seeding AND selecting of more desirable foods for man and beast. due to our inbalance within ourselves, relating to patterns we pass down through the generations, we cause a inbalance around us.

As someone starting to study plant breeding, and the humans selections of food through the ages, (Im no "expert" but I have read many examples) we in very many cases selected, and bred partially out of ignorance, and indeed forever altered the course of many species for one. We also made many much harder to grow. In many cases we did NOT have to give up ease of growing (meaning wild or near so) for taste or even yield in many cases. What breeding offers is extremely broad and offers amazing potentialities.

I hit tons of topics here, but my intent was to start painting a picture of the scope of invasive, the idea nearly everything wants to be, and the thought WE along as far as we know, have the ability to cognizantly alter and divert the course of things. and ANY way we feed ourselves WILL alter things, unless we start hording nuts, and dried berries and bury them in holes like a chipmunk or something. even then we would be altering things anyway.
Working towards being self sufficient. In balance with my surroundings wide awake, and aware. Earth is a living eco-system, and will have a self regulating system of our removal, if necessary. We must learn to ride the wave.

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Nice post!

I only take issue with your notion of human preëminence. I like M. Pollan's take that the plants are the masters and we are serving them by protecting and replicating their genetic material.

Even animals - how many times does a prize bull get to pass on his genes now compared to without humans?
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I don't believe in human preeminence. That is just it, I see us as EQUAL to all other life, but having our individual skills, and purposes, like all other life.

I simply feel like other beings we are not expressing imbalance by altering the landscape to suit our needs. BUT being the type of awareness we have(or lack there of) we can alter it in VERY bad ways, or VERY good ones.
OR keep delicate elements in balance. We are failing horribly at this, and most humans have. BUT if we as humans were more fully realized beings, I think we would NATURALLY fill a similar role to what I am saying, even if we didnt realize it. For our own preservation even.

I think likely most beings see reality frm their own perspective, perhaps like we do with assuming they are the center point of things. I certainly do not think we are BETTER, simply different. Clearly this is true.

But with this idea of invasiveness, there also comes the idea of ONLY native plants. My point also was this is really a myth. the plant and animal kingdoms are in constant flux, even without our help(or lack there of). The plants often design their seed dispersion in this way, various animals spread them, winds, etc.

Show me a single environ outside of the extremes like deep soil bacterial life, or the poles, where things stayed the same indefinately? It absolutely does nt exist and never will. when I say humans alone (as far as we know) can cognizantly alter entire eco systems I do not imply we are better, simply playing a different role. Perhaps Imagine humans not stuck inside their own games of wars, and politics. What would our food production look like? I feel it would naturally, whether we were doing it on purpose or not, would support, and spread in a more balanced way, more desirable foodstuffs. I will be expounding on this over time, and have other ideas to share depending on how people here react.
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yeah, the question is not whether change is going to happen, like you say.

but I see no reason to bring about changes that can accelerate natural processes in ways that don't suit our species.

like introducing non-native biology to a given area, for instance.
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So do you feel we should stop growing most everything we eat as a culture today? back to whatever native grasses, or other grains, nuts and berries?

we can indeed grow much of what we eat in better ways, even find and adapt other more nutritious or tasty things. There are many directions to take it. But if we decide ONLY native are acceptable, to take that literally, would limit our diets immensely. I can do it, even in my conditions, but it doesn't taste so good always. This does not seem to me to be ideal at all.

Seriously do you think we should stop growing most all foods we do?

If not, then why not find new ones, or adapt the ones we have to others areas?

If so you do realize many people would have to move from perfectly fine places they COULD(if they knew how or wanted to) live in balance with.

Not accelerating natural processes here for me, would mean I would need 1000s of years, to greatly improve the soils. various plants exist, and I am working on breeding for many different things. which would grow well here, with local input. More abundance for all.

As it is now, most land here is range land. Cows all over it, eating perennial grasses, rarely able to go to seed. but at least they do limit the cows enough they don't eat them away. the things cows do not eat slowly cover the place. how much altering is okay? we HAVE to eat.

We could slowly drain the area, of its ability to grow food and animals. Or we could learn to adapt with the eco-systems. Introduce with awareness, and eradicate immediantly anything not working out well. althoug with in depth study, that will rarely be a issue.

Organic matter and nitrogen are in short supply here. I do agree we should not go into these things lightly, but ignoring the reality we have to feed ourselves somehow wont solve it. we clearly need answers. Our food system is not sustainable.

We CAN build the soils, and diversity of our foods, diets, and ecosystems.

In fact since there has ALWAYS been change we can now take a role of directing it. which means the eco systems do not have to face the natural periods when some systems crash for various reasons including invasive species. we can be the check valve, but increase diversity, and productivity at the same time.

I am sure most people here agree that we need better answers to our food structures. Well we know the variables involved, to with materials on handing, the right plants, and breeding work, we can learn to grow and adapt, and evolve WITH our eco-systems, keeping them functioning. Making sure imbalances do not occur.

what is happening in africa now highlights this well. they can slowly let their land die, literally. Un-dam the rivers and abandon many cities. OR adjust with the times, and grow things to build organic matter, faster then is normal which generally includes plants labeled invasives. Nitrogen fixers for example. Using the organic matter to retain water, in blocks. Over time they could literally have MORE water hitting the water table instead of much less. as of now no one is offering them ANY answers. the powers that be seem to be trying to push them to pump water from water tables, feeding crops grown with chemicals to feed europe. further reducing their ability to feed them selves as they previously did. BUT if they used knowledge we already have much of in the right ways, they can continue to feed themselves. they can make a new link between the water and water tables, and instead of slowly dieing, they will have more and more life, and with awareness, and knowledge they could track and evolve with the system. sure there WOULD likely be a few snags. BUT if it is a joint effort any issue could be taken care of, before it is out of hand. generally people wait much to long to act. this will rarely be needed though, if the focus stays true.

So is the rare possible inbalance in a real workable solution a reason to continue on the path we are? Or with focusing on solely native plants, this process would take africa many multiple longer. the diet much less varied, or healthy. the lands healed much more slowly, perhaps not enough to account for those pumping water tables despite alternatives.

the possibilities, and ways we could take this would amaze you even if you still wouldnt want to see it happen. Humans left deserts behind many places weve went, and continue to this day. Due to simple little mismanagement issues. If we fix those issues, and work on true diversity, and preservation, we can have near self sustaining, eco systems, that improve over time, offer more diversity then ever before, all the while we could be poised to block any possible imbalances we cause, or come about naturally.

Local is truly the answer. All the tasty foods we have today are almost entirely through selection. Grains were not nearly what they were today. Most fruits and berries although there are exceptions, only taste what we consider palatable today, after massive influence. We did much of this passively, in a sense. We can do it much more focused.

I am certainly not trying to argue with you. merely share a differing view. I want to preserve all native species as well, but used correctly, we do indeed have answers to reverse the errors of our systems, and make them more diverse then ever, improving our soils and ability to feed ourselves over time, rather then deplete it. the animals will thanks us as well.
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So do you feel we should stop growing most everything we eat as a culture today
I think you're going off topic to what this discussion is about. This discussion is about invasive non-native species. The discussion is about plants that get out in the wild and destroy the local habitat by displacing the local plants, which then starve the insects and animals that depended on those plants.

That's a vastly different category from the commercial cultivation of asparagus and radishes in North America. ;)
When I contemplate humans role in this amazing reality we find ourselves in, I come to the conclusion our very existence might be to be a hand in balancing the eco systems...
That is off topic to this discussion. Please stick to the topic under discussion.

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I see no reason to bring about changes that can accelerate natural processes in ways that don't suit our species.
i.e. invasive non-native species. I am happy to discuss all of the other topics you brought up, but since WM would rather we not do it here, how about you start a thread on one of the topics?
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Rog I gotta disagree; I don't think Silversides was way off topic, or even off topic... I don't agree, but I do think we are discussing the salient point here...

Invasives are invasives for one reason alone really, human introduction. Left to their own devices, plants can move in response to shifting climate or ecological opportunity, but in this case the ecosystem they are moving to has time to adapt itself to the introduction. It has been the rapidity of the human vector that has allowed so many plants, animals insects and diseases to spring fully formed into am ecosystem with disruptive result.

Our human history is littered with ecosystems and civililzations despoiled by our transport of biology to places not yet ready. How did 200 Spaniards defeat the Incan Empire? From a germ the Spanish carried (given to them not incidentally by the cows they raised; food is a serious consideration in the invasive conversation).

Look at any invasive issue of serious concern in the U.S. and you quickly see that we gardeners are responsible for the big majority of these issues. Our "adjustment of our surroundings" has deprived us of some of the most productive forest trees in our country (chesnut, elm) and threatens countless others (hemlock, oak, ash, dogwood etc.). Our assumptions of safety and resiliant ecosystem have been wrong time and again, and good work by folks like Doug Tallamy show that more often than not, even the most seemingly innocuous addition deprives a natural community of some valuable link.

I am reminded of the Aldo Leopold quote...
The outstanding scientific discovery of the twentieth century is not television, or radio, but rather the complexity of the land organism. Only those who know the most about it can appreciate how little we know about it. The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: "What good is it?" If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.
Too often we have done just this with the use of an invasive to suit our own ends. The use of broom seems suited to our needs, but it disposes of many natural plants with an indiscriminate dispersion of genetic material and seed with no thought. Mustard is another permie darling plant that has no place on this continent, but I fear we are saddled with it to the detriment of the environments it now pollutes (the correct term in my mind).

One cannot be pro-environment and pro-invasive; the realities of the biota preclude one from the other. TRUE permaculture should embrace the environment it coexists in by valuing native inclusion above all others, and non-invasive plant materials as suitable adjuncts. The use of invasives is more damning than the use of tilling, or oil, or many of the other tools permies love to hate. I do not get the disconnect here; it is integral to ecological thinking...

HG
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Oh man, don't get me started on mustard. I once spent a week with about ten other people doing a Sierra Club service project in Joshua Tree National Park. Almost all we did that week was pull mustard (I forget now the exact variety) as fast as we could, literal tons of the stuff!

It was destroying the rather fragile high desert ecosystem there. I really hope we managed to get rid of enough so it didn't just come back the next spring... I've never been back since to see what's happening there now.

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Don't get me wrong, we shouldn't wring out permies as antithetical to the invasive issue; I am only asking them to recognize a particular issue within the framework of the teachings I think needs consideration.

For all I know Dave Holmgren or Bruce Mollison have written on ths extensively, but I have run into this invasive issue too many times for it to be a particularly clear section of the curriculum. The teachings of E.O. Wilson, Leopold, and Darwin himself let us know how intricate and specialized the natural world is, and how human perception of the ecosystem is continuously in need of reevaluation.

Our usurping of the dominant position in all decisions is premature and haughty, and more often than not a poor decision in respect to planetary health...

Until we see species in an equitable light

where the right to exist is an inalienable right

we are really just talking about making thneeds
which everyone wants, and everyone needs...
:wink:

HG (and Dr. S)
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Buddleia

[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25364[/url]

Buddleia

hey guys I should have posted it here. what do you think? am I way off base, or does two winters without dying back and spreading from seed constitute naturalization?

To me it's simple: the plant is a butterfly thief. It offers their larvae nothing, while using them to carry pollen. So they spread better than native species, and at the same time they decrease butterfly habitat even as they remain the most popular flower for the adults.
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I'm kind of in the same mind, toil. I have resisted this plant in my yard in favor of natives and veg and I get more than my fair share of the b-flies...

Still...

Nectar is a need and the plant clearly fills that need for a lot of insects. While we are certainly in the selection loop here in a big way, we are not able to steer butterflies to plants just yet, and it must fulfill some need...

From seed, really? Hadn't seen that yet. Well, that makes my decision adamant then...

HG
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Paul, I gotta ask... :?

How can we ever consider an invasive plant permaculture, when it is not ecologically sustainable by definition? If the non-native plant replaces enough native biomass, then according to what I understand, we will get attending losses of insects (usually around 25-30% of insects in any area won't have enzymes to digest the non-native plants). Then we lose some birds or frogs or fish that were counting on those bugs. And the plants that were counting on the insect to pollinate them don't reproduce and guess who fills that spot? Ad infinitum, ad nauseum, ad mortis.

Isn't sustainability part of permaculture? So shouldn't preserving the ecosystem be the very first step in permaculture?

IMHYVO (In My Humble Yet Vociferous Opinion :lol: )

HG
No idea if this has been laid to rest but I have to add my $0.02... Have you never heard of forest succession? Just because one plant dominates a specific area doesn't mean it's going to always occupy that space. Some plants are designed for a purpose, soil retention, mineral mining, water collection, insect attraction... etc. I think God created every plant for a specific purpose and to think that we are smarter and suppose that we are wise enough to "manage" a perfect ecosystem is foolish. Case in point, California's wildfires... they thought that putting out the naturally occuring wildfires was a great idea. I mean, duh, why should we let the forests burn? They should be maintained exactly as they are... Except decades later we realize that the burning was a part of the natural cycle and necessary to maintain the natural order of things. We need occasional forest fires to keep balance. The same principle applies to dandelions and clover. Lawns in suburbian hell need calcium and bacterial nitrogen to bring the soils back into a healthy mineralogical balance, so what just so happens to fit in that niche? Plants that collect calcium and plants that promote nitrogen fixing bacteria...

I know I should probably read all the posts in this thread before posting this but I just can't help myself. I agree with Paul that sometimes "invasive" means a plant that is needed or helpful to bring an area into proper balance. I think Sepp Holzer would agree.

*edit* HG I have to agree with you about using species native to an area to achieve a restorative effect rather than using a non-native species. Sure introducing an organism from another continent can destroy something beautiful but I think the fact of the matter is that it's going to happen sooner or later and if we can use a plant to fix the soil and restore it to a healthy balance then it will no longer fit in the soil parameters. If you have wet soils then a specific set of plants will grow there. Depending on what "you" want to grow there is what dictates what is a "weed". Just because you don't want it there doesn't mean it's a weed, it is just a signpost telling you what you need to do to make it go away. Change the environment around it and it goes away. Yes disease can invade any ecosystem and that's a tragedy. I weep for the loss of the American Chestnut but the simple fact is that nothing is forever and you-know-what happens no matter how hard we try to protect things.. (doesn't mean we stop trying though)

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