Letter: Get Rid Of Exotic Plants Today

Christine Boyette’s letter to the editor (Out Of Control Invasive Plants In The Acreage, Feb. 14) is right on! One area that we in The Acreage are way behind in is the removal of exotic plants. As a retired Florida environmental science teacher, and current member of the Florida Native Plant Society, I applaud her letter.

I have lived in Florida since 1970 and moved to The Acreage in 2001. As I drive around this area, I am increasingly appalled at the amount of invasive exotics here. They are not only on vacant land, but in many people’s yards. Palm Beach County does require the removal of non-native invasive exotics from property, yet invasive exotics like earleaf acacia, Brazilian pepper, Australian pine and melaleuca flourish in The Acreage. I have even seen Old World climbing fern on some lots.

Reasons to clear your land of these invasive plants include:

1. Invasive exotics alter native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions, or hybridizing with natives. The current list of invasive exotics can be obtained by going to www.fleppc.org.

2. The State of Florida spends millions of dollars a year to eliminate or control exotic invasive plants on natural lands. By not clearing the exotic invasives from your land, you are maintaining a seed bank that allows these species to spread. It is not easy to get rid of them and you must be ever vigilant in your garden, but it is well worth the effort to encourage our native plants to grow in their place.

3. Since we are very close to a Wildlife Management Area, we should be even more vigilant so that those exotics are not carried into the WMA.

The week of Feb. 26 to March 3 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Take some time to research the invasive plants found in our area and your neighborhood. Go outside in this great weather and remove all invasives you find in your yard. Replace them with native Florida plants. You will be rewarded with increased wildlife in your yard.

Lynn Sweetay, The Acreage