Invasive Chinese tallow removed

Historic City News has learned that four county sites were recently treated for the invasive Chinese tallow tree (triadica sebifera); which has been determined to be an ecological threat to our environment.

Chinese tallow will overtake native plant species, reducing habitat for wildlife as well as forage areas for livestock.

Chinese tallow alters light availability for other plant species while tallow leaves contain toxins that create unfavorable soil conditions for native plant species.

Of the four sites treated, Windswept Acres Park and the future Canopy Shores Park have now been eradicated of both Chinese tallow and Brazilian pepper.

St. Johns County Administrator Michael Wanchick extended his thanks Friday for the endeavor; giving credit to a joint effort between St. Johns County Environmental, Parks and Recreation and Road and Bridge Divisions working together with the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuary Research Reserve, Florida Wildlife Commission, The Nature Conservancy, participants from the South Anastasia Community Association and Friends of A1A.

Chinese tallow will transform native habitats into single species tallow forests in the absence of land management practices.

Wanchick said, “Monitoring will continue at these sites, along with replanting native species in the areas where the invasive growths were removed.”

The Chinese tallow tree is native to China and Japan. It was introduced into the United States in the 1700’s in South Carolina and, ironically, distributed in the Gulf Coast in the 1900’s by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an attempt to establish a soap making industry.

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