There are many different species of invasive plants and animals that can have devastating impacts on trees, and which is the most harmful depends on your region. In New England the asian longhorn beetle has leveled many acres of forest; Michigan has recently dealt with an outbreak of the brown marmorated stink bug. There are also a variety of diseases that can infect trees with harmful effects on ecosystems.
English Ivy, or Hedera helix is an invasive vine that threatens trees in the United States. It travels up the trees, winding around them and choking the branches, preventing new leaves and growing so incredibly heavy it weighs down the trees with its thick stems. It also acts as a “fire ladder” in times of wildfire, leading the fire up to the top of the trees. The ivy also crowds out other native plants on the ground, preventing sunlight from reaching them.
In addition to English Ivy, Himalayan blackberry, holly, laurel, morning glory alos choke out native species. Spotted knapweed is a big killer of wildflowers in places like Montana.
There are dozens of invasive plants, fungi, bugs and animals that can invade forest regions and destroy trees. Of the insect family, the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle and sirex woodwasp are often found to invade. Because they can be transmitted to various regions in many ways, they are difficult to stop. For example, the ash borer’s exact origins into this country are unknown. However they got here, they are now found in ash tree populations through North America and can kill said populations in as quickly as two years.
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