Gardeners: Mixed Use Won’t Happen Without Land Planning

Chinese Tallow Tree Leaves“You are the first line of defense against these deceptively beautiful, but deadly invaders in our midst,” warns the Bellaire Examiner.

Who is this evil interloper? The Chinese Tallow Tree. Don’t get caught harboring one of these nasties on your property.

Yeah, it’s a bad tree. Because it takes over and forces out other plants, right?

Chinese tallow alters light availability for other plant species. Fallen tallow leaves contain toxins that create unfavorable soil conditions for native plant species. Chinese tallow will outcompete native plant species, reducing habitat for wildlife as well as forage areas for livestock.

This alarming description is from a website on invasive species put together by the Houston Advanced Research Center and the TCEQ’s Galveston Bay Estuary Program. But read carefully between the lines and you’ll realize that to the authors, the Chinese Tallow isn’t just an alien invader—it’s proof that Houston needs land-use controls:

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

Do these folks realize what they’re advocating? Let’s hope they stick to gardening and stay out of urban planning. No telling what they’d do if they got hold of Houston’s development regulations.

Photo: Flickr user ultraviolet_catastrophe