|Honeysuckle removal team|
So....What's the big deal. Let nature take it's course. That's what I used to think. Turns out that's what we should have done and not brought in these plants. Using the honeysuckle as an example of just one invasive, here's the problem. The honeysuckle is aggressive and grows rapidly, crowding out our native plants. It doesn't have much in the way of pests or natural controls, so it continues to spread. The berries look pretty to us and are attractive to birds. The birds eat the berries and spread the seeds around with a little extra fertilizer. The honeysuckle is the first bush in the spring to leaf out and green up. With this early shade, our own native plants don't get that early spring sunshine to get going strong. Thus the Honeysuckle wins. Last year Eileen Metress, Ph.D. Emeritus Professor,The University of Toledo, gave a talk to the local Wild Ones group where she compared a bird eating a honeysuckle fruit to us eating Twinkies. In other words, the honeysuckle doesn't provide the nutrition the birds need. Furthermore, as with most exotic invasives, the honeysuckle doesn't provide the other natural requirements for our local wildlife. It's great in Asia, but not here.
By the way, I was surprised but shouldn't have been, to find out some of our plants have been exported to other parts of the world where they have become invasive. Makes sense, but I thought it was only happening to us. The Wild Black Cherry tree is a great tree in the US, supporting a lot of wildlife, but a real problem in Europe.