Though our mission here is to spread the word about eliminating invasive plant species, what will we put in their place? We feel that the only choice is native species; to us, that means plants that were here before the Europeans came. Today we have a large variety of plants to choose from and we can create beautiful gardens, but many of these plants are not native to this country. These plants are just eye candy for us. They do not have a real purpose; they do not support the web of life – the ecosystem.
For example: The Cornaceae plant family (dogwoods) support about 120 insect species. Yes, you read that right – supports insects (specifically moth and butterfly species) – and that is a good thing. You see, we need caterpillars for baby birds and other critters to eat. Without the bugs, the birds and others will not survive. However, a non-native member of this family, Cornus kousa (the Kousa dogwood from Asia), supports only six insect species. This popular plant does not have a significant purpose other than to please our eye.
Another problem: The Bradford pear (native to China) has been widely planted in our urban landscapes. At first, this was not a significant problem since the plants did not pollinate each other and so did not make seed. That changed when other hybrids were introduced; now the trees pollinate each other, producing fruit and seed. These trees are now invasive and are taking space where our native species (those with a purpose) should be growing. The points here are, we don’t know what the next non-native, invasive species will be and so native species are the best choice.