Prolific or invasive? adapting plants are friend or foe?

Nature has a system of checks and balances. Many plants are at odds with natures system and survive only because of mans intervention. Wild calleryana pears for example do not need us. They grow prolifically and reproduce quickly in some locations. Blackberry are the same way frequently producing though they have not been assisted. Mulberry is also immune to predators and disease’s. I’m suggesting maybe we should listen more to what natures saying and start planting seeds to create new varities of fruits and vegetables.
There are some people who would say these plants are a danger to us in some way. When nature produced these varieties I realize they are here to stay regardless of opinion. I use wild pears to graft to and enjoy the wonderful fruits. Once nature was provided additional genetics it quickly made varities far superior to anything we imagined. By people planting flowering pears to make their yards pretty they created what is now an ever adapting wild pear which is already out competing native plants in some states. Its my belief as diseases such as fireblight become stronger its likely nature is already making its own response to that disease. Wild calleryana pears show no signs of FB. The pears we cultivate often succumb to the same illness. We grow cherry tomatoes in the garden that frequently come up the following year and grow better than the tomatoes we plant. Did I mention the bugs don’t bother those tomatoes and yet eat the leaves and fruit on the ones we planted?

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Invasive (introduced) plants are accelerated evolution before our very eyes.

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How long do you think it will be until humans except autumn berry? The soil was depleted by modern farming. The soil has survivors like autumn berry that makes its own nitrogen from the air. Consider the answers are all here but noone makes money from wild callery pears, mulberry, pawpaw, persimmon, autumn berry and others. There is big money in modern Agriculture.

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Autumn olive? I’m not anti-autumn olive but can tell you that an awful lot of folks are. The DNRs and Fish/Game people who used to tell us to plant the stuff (and sell it to us) are now spending big bucks to eradicate it. AO doesn’t survive winters here, so it’s not a big deal to me one way or another.

On the other invasive hand, Glossy and European buckthorn do indeed survive winters here and will take over forest understories to the exclusion of most everything else. I’ve spent a great number of hours basal spraying Crossbow and diesel to get rid of as much buckthorn as I can. I realize once I’m dead that my property will likely become overrun with the stuff, but it’s not going to happen while I’m able to keep it at bay. There is debate on whether buckthorn is allelopathic. I can tell you from first hand observation that nothing will grow under a canopy of the stuff or down hill of a thick stand.

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I hate Common/European buckthorn. I have been battling it at our house since we bought 7 yrs ago. I refer to it as Sh!t berry because robins gobble it up and then have explosive purple diarrhea all over the place which spreads the seed. At one end of our property the mother tree existed. Still the biggest buckthorn tree I have ever seen. My traditional approach was if you remove a good deal of root below the stump that tree is done for. But if you just cut it off it will resprout. I had the stump of a fairly good size one that was on the fence-line up against a main post so I couldn’t dig it without creating another even bigger job fencing so I just kept removing the sprouts a couple times a year. Last year for an experiment I shaved the top of the stump clean again with the chain saw and drilled a few holes around the bark layer and piled up a handful or two of some sort of magnesium water softener salt that was on clearance for like $1.25/50# bag. It worked!, dead as a doornail with no effect on the surrounding grass. I have removed 90% of the stuff on my property but like you, will never be rid of it. The last 10% is perpetual regrowth/sprouting. I also have a lot of chokecherry and green ash that I battle. I like chokecherry trees in general but not once they have become problematic. Their roots are more difficult and sprout like bindweed. Oh and also we have a good deal of a invasive goji berry which is not productive…though at least it does provide some flowers that the bees like. Its roots are also a real B since you can never get the mother root that is like a foot below the surface and have to relentlessy pull the sprouts to exhasust the mother if you can stay on top of it.

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If you are not against using chemicals to deal with buckthorn, I can tell you that dormant basal spraying of the stuff with 6 oz. Crossbow herbicide to 1 gallon diesel has been by far my most successful and economical method of eradication. I use a 2 gallon sprayer (12 oz. Crossbow/2 gallons diesel) and head out to the woods. My first couple of falls/winters spraying the stuff required many days of time in the woods. Now, I’m down to a handful of hours over a few days.

Any time of the year I am on my property I have a roll of blue flagging tape. If I see a buckthorn escapee, I flag it with the tape. Much easier for me to find those stragglers that way.

I’m not going to declare myself the winner of the buckthorn war here, but I am definitely winning most of the battles.

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I haven’t noticed this in general. When I did my initial clearing of the extensive overgrowth on our property I rented a big chipper and made a huge pile that I have been using for mulch and plan to use on the garden paths as well. My fruit trees have had no problems that I can discern from the mulch I put around the bases. But, I wonder if maybe raspberries and blackberries are more sensitive to it? I had dug up all my old rasp and black berries due to SWD and have been trying to start over with earlier fruiting varieties but have had a heck of a time getting them to establish over the last 3 years. I have been using that mulch on the beds. The beds I dug up were in different locations but I know I used that same mulch on them and they had no problems. Either way, I think I will remove the chip mulch and go with bagged compost mulch this year and see if that changes things.

I mosly am against chemicals. I will selectively use chemicals in areas where there will never be any chance of crossover to the garden. Like the front yard, traditionally I just don’t compost anything from the front and use chemicals there with some restraint. Our property is something like 0.84 acres, so I can manage most of it pretty well without chemicals. It’s just that I am fighting many years of neglect before we bought it. Each year I reclaim more and more of it. Maintenance is much easier than taming the wild! Thanks for the suggestion.

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Yep, I’d agree chemicals likely aren’t necessary for that size property. A couple guys I know use something like this Brush Grubber Original Brush Grubber, BG-01 at Tractor Supply Co. and an atv or compact tractor.

I’ve got 95 acres with “pockets” of thick buckthorn scattered across the property. I decided that I was going to win the war and didn’t want to deal with the same trees/bushes more than once, so I went full out chemical warfare. I’m also getting old enough that crawling around the scrub isn’t getting any easier. I’d like to get the stuff under control while I’m still physically capable of doing so.

My belief on allelopathy and buckthorn is tied to the roots and possibly fallen leaves.

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Are you saying man is not part of nature? I would disagree with that. Some trees use insects, without them the species could die out, some use apes. Some use both!
Invasive too is not always clear, let’s look at camels. Everywhere camels are they are invasive. They originate from the Americas. Crossed the land bridge and died here during the ice age along with woolly mammoths. Which look to originate in Africa.
I don\t like many species that have invaded us, but it appears near impossible to do anything about it.
When Gobies arrived in the bilge of ocean ships into the great lakes one could no longer fish well with worms. As the gobies just stripped the bait. Still do a lot. I started using minnows more for perch. We were worried they would lower the perch and other fish populations. Now almost a decade later Perch, walleye and bass will eat gobies and the population has decreased. Not really an issue anymore, and the fishing has remained good too. We have over 150 invasive species in the Great Lakes now.

@Drew51

Man has a tendency to produce weak things and then get upset when they die. Do weeds need seven dust, watered, weeded, deer and rabbits chased away etc. ? Weak plants that nature would typically eliminate we like. Lambs quarter is easier to grow than lettuce as an example.

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I must say I always root for the underdog! Survival of the fittest. No getting around that.
Mother Nature bats last. We do the best we can and often it’s not enough. I grow lettuce hydroponically in my house, and it tastes great. No pests or anything to deal with.

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I took out a quarter mile stretch of autumn olive along the road to one of our job sites. Every 3-5 years or so, I bring the excavator back to beat back new seedlings. I think I’m making progress at this point. They are very brittle and easy to tear down by machine. Not so much by hand with the horrible spurs they make.

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Funny. I can’t keep a Autumn olive alive. Too hot and dry…D

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Well I know a spot you can collect as many as you want.

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Yeah I know TX (san Antonio) you can see the rain kicking up the dust dang concrete water drainage ditches do not help with the ground water saturation either throughout the year (at least it’s a problem in other places if it gets washed out to sea, and not settled back into the ground )

Why do not not try one of those native ones (the grey leaf one)
Buffalo berry is more north of you

I know autum olive is pretty badly out of control in AZ.

Of coarse there are better berries related I have not heard things being invasive
(but drawing a blank on exact name)

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do these come back from burns
Ryan that site looks like it needs one

Even the native Americans burned yellow stone land before we came in
which ruined the habitat by not burning it from over growth ,
and small tiny species that needed to thrive from fire suppression from over growth over taking it …

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It’s not my property, and there are gas lines and wells scattered everywhere so a burn is very inadvisable. I just need to maintain access to water sampling sites and keep the darn olive from scratching my clear coat when I drive my own car.

If it was my land it would be burned regularly and much different underbrush growing.

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I planted a bunch trying to fix nitrogen on some old range land. Even with supplemental water they all died over several months. Our soil is a bit alkaline. Maybe they don’t like that? I try things a few times then when they don’t work I try something else. D

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They can handle alkaline soil but I do have some soil so poor it kills them! I’ve tried everything to try to imrove some of my soil. Slowly I’m winning but it’s not easy. Try dumping loads of woodchips over the entire area. One particularly bad area I have aged cow manure 6 inches deep and wood chips 6 inches but after 8 years of trying its just now growing things like weeds. I’ve started autumn olives on half of it but the other half they died.

Anything we do to counter monoculture is bound to benefit us in the long run

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