Invasive Species

Invader Species and Brush Control
Residents and visitors of The Woodlands enjoy our community because it feels like being in a natural forest. The Woodlands, however, is not a natural forest in the traditional sense. It is actually a series of small woodlots or buffer strips which provide benefits like a forest.

With these small strips of forest there is an increased edge effect, which promotes invader species, both native and non-native. The adoption of the Integrated Forest Management Plan provides an initiative to remove invasive vines, brush and non-native species from our forested and open-space areas.

Chinese Tallow Tree
Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum) is a non-native species which was introduced from China in the late 1700s. It was used as an oil crop species in earlier years, and in more recent years it has been used extensively as an ornamental tree due to its speedy growth and brilliant fall colors.

Chinese Tallow Tree

Chinese tallow tree has the ability to rapidly take over and replace native vegetation. The tree not only grows rapidly; it also has the ability to reproduce at three years of age and reproduce from cuttings. Seeds can be spread by birds and water which can produce outbreaks over large areas. The length to deplete the seed bank is unknown, but the seed may remain viable in the soil for many years. The tree is listed on Texas's noxious weed list and is considered a noxious plant by many states.

Controlling Chinese Tallow Tree Growth
Chinese tallow tree control consists of only a few successful choices:

  • Removal of trees during spring months and treatment of cut stumps with basal systemic herbicide containing active triclopyr
  • Removal of trees and treatment of stumps with Brush-B-Gone or Brush Killer herbicides

Once the trees are removed, residents may replace them with a variety of native species that also grow quickly and have beautiful fall colors, such as:

  • American Hornbeam
  • Black Tupelo (Blackgum)
  • Eastern Hophornbeam
  • Eastern Redbud
  • Fringe Tree
  • Red Maple
  • River Birch
  • Silverbell
  • Winged Elm