I have lived in The Acreage since 1988, and for the past seven years or so, I have seen an explosion of invasive exotic plants in this area.
A year ago, I became aware that a lot we own had become a forest of earleaf acacias — the most invasive of all the exotic trees, in my opinion. At that time, I started removing these exotics and many others. Now that I’m almost done with this undertaking, I feel I must tell others about this problem.
The invasive exotic plants choke the native plants to death. They are fast growers and prolific seed producers, which makes them an environmental nightmare. This problem is not being taken seriously enough by residents and the government.
To remove large numbers of these exotics is an overwhelming task to undertake, but it must be done. Removing these plants permanently will improve our health, our safety, Florida’s ecology and the beauty of our properties.
Please look for the “Palm Beach County Prohibited Plants” brochure online. The brochure has pictures of the prohibited plants, which include Brazilian pepper, carrotwood, earleaf acacia and the Queensland umbrella tree. Once you have the brochure, walk around your yard to see how many of these exotics are growing there. Also, visit the Mounts Botanical Gardens and the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Office, as well as your local library, for information on the subject.
I’m 53 years old, and if I can clear an entire forest of earleaf acacias and other exotics with a pruning saw, hand pruners and the occasional help my husband offers with the chainsaw, then so can you. The trick is to cut as low as you can, remove and discard the seeds in a plastic bag and spray the stump with Roundup, which might require repeated applications.
I predict that if we don’t do something about this problem now, in less than 10 years we will see forests of these invasive exotics everywhere in The Acreage. Don’t assume that lawncare workers will take care of this for you. I’m pretty sure most are not familiar with invasive plants.
Plant useful natives such as cocoplum and wild coffee to feed the hungry native wildlife and the many birds which visit our area. Please help stop the spread of the invasive exotic plants.
Christine Boyette, The Acreage