• Outdoors Outdoors

Forester shares consequences of landscaping with invasive plants: 'This forest can't be restored'

"[It] makes me so upset when this happens."

"[It] makes me so upset when this happens."

Photo Credit: TikTok

A forester on TikTok is warning users about the dangers of non-native plants.

In an informative video, user Kyle Labarger (@nativeplanttok) showed how a local ecosystem close to his heart is being overtaken by invasive species.

@nativeplanttok This forest can't be restored because this neighborhood is still full of non-native landscaping plants that will just fill right back in! #nativehabitatproject #invasives #landscaping #plantnative ♬ original sound - Kyle Lybarger

"This is how you destroy a native ecosystem by landscaping with non-native plants," he explains. "These are the woods I grew up playing in at my grandparents. And because their neighborhood has landscaped with non-native plants, this entire forest is now filled with non-natives."

He goes on to point out invasive non-native plants, including English ivy, bush honeysuckle, winter creeper, and monkey grass.

"Our native ecosystems are becoming unrecognizable. They're getting out-competed by non-native species that we brought here on purpose. All thanks to big box garden centers like Home Depot who still sells English ivy," he says.

"This forest can't be restored," he adds in the caption. "The neighborhood is still full of non-native landscaping plants that will just fill right back in!"

Labarger is right — non-native plants can drastically disrupt ecosystems by taking up valuable space, nutrients, water, and other resources that crowd out native species. They can even cause structural damage, as some unfortunate homeowners found out after their neighbor's bamboo burst through their walls

Native plants, on the other hand, can help strengthen local ecosystems when they're planted in our gardens and around our homes, attracting pollinators and often saving homeowners money on water compared to traditional grass lawns.

Some other examples of plants that can easily overtake ecosystems: sunflowers, orange nasturtium, alyssum, purple loosestrife, and ground elders

"What we plant around our homes will always escape into our native ecosystems," Labarger says at the end of his video. "This ecosystem right here — as these mature native hardwoods die off — is going to be replaced by non-native invasives. All because we chose to plant non-natives in our landscaping."

Users shared similar frustrations with non-native plants in the comment section.

"Yes!! I am fighting and losing against English ivy!" one user wrote.

"We have in Holland an american hardwood. It grows like h***; it takes [a] whole Forest in no time," another user said. 

"Makes me so upset when this happens. My neighborhood is full of kudzu and English ivy," a third user noted.

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