Invasive Plants in the Landscape

Invasive plants are defined as those that are nonnative and cause harm to the economy, environment or human health. These plants are highly adaptable, quick growers, and difficult to eradicate.  Although there are many invasive plants to watch out for, below are several that are frequently seen in the landscape.

Privets (Japanese, Border, Chinese and Common), Ligustrum genus 

These invasive shrubs mainly spread through seed, often distributed by birds which have eaten the fruit. Once established the shrub will colonize the area, forming dense thickets which choke out any native species that would otherwise occupy the area.  What makes the Ligustrum species difficult to eradicate is its ability to regenerate new growth from roots and stumps. Privet pollen is also a severe allergenic.

Alternative Native Species: Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera), Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

Burning Bush, Euonymus alatus

Burning bush was introduced into the United States for use as an ornamental shrub. Its attractive, bright red fall color has made it a popular choice but its fast growing nature and exceptional seed production has landed it on the invasive list. This is another shrub that forms dense monotypic stands that reduces habitat diversity. In open woodlands this shrub will replace native shrubs while creating a dense root mass that prevents herbaceous growth.

Alternative Native Species: Red Cokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum), Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum)

Japanese Stilt Grass, Microstagium vimineum 

Introduced into the United States by accident, Japanese stilt grass grows in a variety of habitats from full sun to dense shade, preferring moist, acidic to neutral soils that are high in nitrogen. Spreading exclusively by seed, this annual grass can produce between 100-1000 seed per parent plant. Seeds often fall close but can be carried by water or moved around by humans or animals. Alternative native species will vary depending on site conditions

There are a number of strategies used to control these species including mechanical and chemical. The most important and easiest is to discover an invasion early and remove them before the population becomes too high. Preventing them from entering a vulnerable habitat in the first place is most ideal. Here at Cedar Run Landscapes we hope that by providing information about these plants and recommending the removal these species from the landscape can help minimize habitat destruction due to invasive plants.

If you would like to learn more about these species or others check out this DCNR site.


Project of the Month: Philadelphia Water Department and Permeable Patios

Cedar Run Landscapes has been selected to participate in PWD’s Rain Check pilot program. This program was developed to help homeowners improve their landscapes while managing stormwater runoff. By redirecting this runoff we are reducing the amount of rainwater that enters Philadelphia’s sewer systems and in effect decreasing water pollution and improving our waterways. To learn more about this program, click here.

This month Cedar Run Landscapes installed a 126 sq. ft. permeable natural stone patio. Below are several photos taken during the installation process. Permeable patios are constructed to permit water to soak though the joints of the paving stones where the aggregate base below filters out particulates. This cleans the water as it percolates into the water table.

Here is Keith, one of our supervisors,  finishing the depaving and removing of compacted sub-soil  before the installation of the permeable patio.

The crew is  filling in the patio joints with clean stone which will allow water to seep into the base below and into the ground.

Finished patio after being sprayed down with water.

By installing permeable patios and implementing other types of storm water solutions, Cedar Run Landscapes is taking the initiative in sustainable design. We are proud to be participating in greening our local communities and hope to continue providing innovative techniques for handling stormwater issues. With each project installed, we are reducing runoff and helping to protect the health of our watersheds.

Philadelphia International Flower Show

Cedar Run Landscapes traveled down to the Pennsylvania Convention Center this week to assist Flowers by David in their preparations for next weeks Philadelphia Flower Show.  Flowers by David, located in Langhorne PA, has been a major exhibitor at the show since 1997. This year’s display, titled KāKua (Tattoo), was inspired by Hawaiian tribal tattoos and is dominated by a striking modernistic water feature.

Our expertise in water features lead Flowers by David to call on us to help assist with this display. If you find the time we recommend that you head on down to the Philadelphia International Flower Show next week to check out this display as well as many others. It’s a great place to get inspiration and design ideas to implement in your own landscape.

Our Designers Experience at Lancasters, MAHTS

As a designer, I like to attend any course at MAHTS that discusses design, site planning, or sustainability practices in the landscape. One course that really interested me was ‘Sustainable Design and Construction’.  The speaker touched on LEED standards and explained various sustainable landscape projects, but the one thing that sparked my interest during the presentation was a new program that has been developed called ‘Sustainable Sites Initiative.’

Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is a program that promotes sustainable land development and management practices. SITES first began to materialize in 2005 when the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center joined forces and held a summit in Austin, Texas. Now 7 years later the initiative had just certified three projects in their pilot program.

The difference between this program and something like LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is that SITES focuses completely on the landscape. It may be a vacant lot, shopping mall, park, or single family home. No matter the project, SITES provides comprehensive guidelines to those who wish to create a sustainable landscape.

This initiative is very exiting to those of us in the industry. We now have an organization that will help guide us in creating long lasting eco-sensitive landscapes. Cedar Run Landscapes will be keeping an eye on the progress of the pilot program as it winds down this year and the guidelines are refined. Please check back with us for updates.