Invasive Plants

LEED
Chip Henderson, AIA, CEM, LEED Faculty
July 23, 2012
Invasive Plants

The LEED for Homes Green Rating System prohibits the introduction of invasive species into the landscape. The first step in fulfilling this prerequisite is to verify that the trees, plants or grasses you are buying for your yard or garden are not considered invasive. Here is where the confusion starts. By their very nature, invasive species are characteristically hardy and adaptable and may be commonly observed in the region or readily available in the local nursery. Just because plant species are available locally does not mean they are appropriate for your project or ecosystem. When making landscaping choices, be aware that non-native or introduced species (invasive or not) evolved in other ecosystems with different levels of rainfall, soil nutrients, sunlight, and predators. Providing water, chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers is expensive, time-consuming, and environmentally damaging. If you are looking for information on non-native or invasive species, I recommend you visit www.texasinvasives.org or www.invasive.org. A great resource for native landscape ideas is the Lady Bird Johnson Native Plant Database. http://www.wildflower.org/plants. Invasive PlantsThe goal is to create a natural, balanced landscape without the need for excess irrigation and inputs. Making “green” landscape decisions is not “black & white” and requires careful research and creativity to have a landscape that not only looks healthy but is also healthy for humans, wildlife, and the planet.

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