What You Can Do
Of the 4,012 plant species now growing on their own without cultivation in Florida, about 30% are non-native. Many of these plants were originally introduced as garden ornamentals or agricultural crops. Other non-native plants were accidentally introduced.
Many of these plants grew so well in Florida that they naturalized--spread on their own. When naturalized non-native plants spread extensively into natural areas, displacing native plants and disrupting natural processes, they are called invasive. Invasive non-native plants can be thought of as weeds in natural areas.
A good start to identifying Florida's invasive plants is to identify plants on your own property or plants sold in local nurseries and determine if any are considered invasive.
Most non-native invasive plants are included in various plant identification field guides, horticultural books, and botanical keys. Your county Extension office and the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants can assist with identification.
Do not use plants in your landcape that have potential to be invasive in natural areas near where you live. Look up plants in the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas to see if a plant you are considering has the potential to be invasive in your area.
The removal of non-native invasive plants from private property can eliminate a major source of invasion into natural areas.
While many invasive plants are considered weeds by property owners, sometimes property owners purposely plant non-native invasives. Removal of these plants may seem a sacrifice for the property owner, but this loss can be a short-term problem.
Your local county Extension office can reccomend Florida-Friendly plants to replace invasive plants in your landscape.
Stumps of trees that are cut down should always be treated with a herbicide to prevent regrowth.
Non-native invasive plants that are not removed from private property should be contained as carefully as possible, especially if the land is close to sensitive natural areas. Dispose of trimmed material from invasive plants, especially material with attached seeds or spores, or plant parts capable of vegetative reproduction.
Volunteer to remove invasive plants from local natural areas under the guidance of the natural area manager.
Are you unknowingly harboring invasive plants in your yard? Here are some common problem invasive plants in Florida.
- Brazilian Pepper-tree Control
- Brazilian Pepper-tree, Schinus terebinthifolius
- Brazilian-pepper tree--Okeechobee Extension Office
Old World Climbing Fern
Tropical Soda Apple
Excerpted and adapted from:
Control of Non-native Plants in Natural Areas of Florida (SP 242) by K.A. Langeland and R.K. Stocker. Published by: Agronomy Department (rev. 08/2011).
Help Protect Florida's Natural Areas from Non-Native Invasive Plants (Circular 1204) by K.A. Langeland. Published by: Agronomy Department (rev. 05/2012).
Related Sites & Articles
- Hot Topics
- Identification Resources: Insects, Plants, & Diseases
- UF/IFAS Publications
- Invasive Weeds
- UF/IFAS Sites
- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
- IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas
- Other Sites & Publications
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
- National Invasive Species Information Center--USDA
- Botanical Keys to Florida's Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines
- Control of Non-native Plants in Natural Areas of Florida
- Invasive and Non-Native Plants You Should Know
- Invasive and Non-native Plants
- Invasive Non-Native Plants Photo Mural