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Invasive, or exotic pest plant species are a serious problem in South Carolina.
Nonnative plant invasions can be seen in natural areas, croplands, rangelands, pastures, forests, wetlands and waterways, wilderness areas, parks and refuges, and highway rights-of-way. Not all non-native plants are invasive. In fact, a large number of our agricultural crops and ornamental plants are non-native (exotic) in origin.
Invasive plant populations can grow, adapt, multiply, and spread to unmanageable levels, often overwhelming entire landscapes. Invasive plants significantly reduce plant diversity (and ecosystem biodiversity) and can be a severe threat to stability and sustainability of our natural systems. Management of invasive, nonnative plant species is difficult and complex. It is estimated that 100 million acres in the United States are already impacted by invasive plant species, requiring costly management. Preventing further spread of invasive plants and recapturing impacted sites is a monumental task that depends on public awareness, support, and participation.
Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) is one of the most widely invasive plants in the South, often forming dense thickets in bottomland hardwood forests and along fencerows. Japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum), Tall privet (Ligustrum lucidum), European privet (Ligustrum vulgare), California privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium), and Border privet (Ligustrum obtusifolium) are all considered invasive with some considered to be a greater threat than others. Although privet is widely available, it should not be planted and existing planting should be removed.
Download the book below for more information on exotic plant species in South Carolina.
Recent estimates found that 42% of the nation’s endangered and threatened species have declined as a result of encroaching invasives. The direct cost of invasive species to the American economy is estimated at $138 billion per year (Clemson University, Department of Plant Industry, Invasive Species Program).
Never prune or remove aquatic vegetation without first seeking proper guidelines. When using herbicides remember the label is the lawn. Herbicides can be dangerous, so please consult a professional. Dead plant material should be removed from surface waters to reduce nutrient pollution to the waterway.