How Native, Non-Native, and Invasive Plants Impact the Ecosystem

Most people have heard the terms native and non-native when it comes to plants or animals that may or may not be considered helpful to the environment. There are differences in how native, non-native and invasive species impact the health of the natural resources in your area, and that is why it continues to be a topic worth knowing more about. Understanding the difference between native, non-native, and invasive species, how they interact with the ecosystem, and the impact they have can help people choose the best plants for their garden or property.

Let’s Define Native, Non-Native and Invasive

A native plant is one that originates and develops in its surrounding habitat. These native species have adapted to that environment. Although most people focus on invasive plants being aggressive and infringing on the habitat, native species can also become aggressive. Invasive plants and animals beat out other species in the area, and that is why they are considered destructive to existing ecosystems. Non-native plants originated elsewhere but have been introduced into the area where they now live.

Native Plant and Animal Species

When people talk about native plants, these are plants that have adapted and evolved without human intervention. This means that these species have organically integrated to become part of that habitat through evolution and adaptation. Most of the time, native plants produce robust blooms and foliage and quickly become a haven for butterflies, insects, critters, and other essential pollinators. The weather has little impact on native species, and they are able to survive regardless of climate changes.

Invasive Plant and Animal Species

Invasive plants are known to take over, preventing other species from growing. Invasive plants can cause ecological and economic loss in some areas because decreasing crop yields can ultimately be impacted by invasive species. In the agriculture and forestry industries, reduced numbers of species due to invasive species taking over dominate the ecosystem and are not able to provide necessary nutrients for the native animals and insects.

Non-Native Plants

Non-native plants have characteristics of both native and invasive species. They do produce foliage and blooms but do not take over and prevent other things from growing and thriving in the ecosystem. Non-native plants do not typically adapt and do require care to survive in the environment. Some plants that are non-native become naturalized after long periods of time.

Although these definitions seem cut and dry, they are anything but that. Some native species can be aggressive and take over a garden. On the other hand, some non-native species can stay local and never prevent other things from growing. It is best to research and find out what other gardeners and beekeepers are doing in your area. It is almost a guarantee that you won’t be the first person to have that experience, and knowledge is power when it comes to creating the most eco-friendly system possible.

Landscaping with Native and Non-Native Plants

One of the biggest complaints about sticking to an exclusively native plant landscape is that they may not be as aesthetically pleasing as other non-native species. However, there are plants called nativars, which have been helped along by humans to cultivate more desirable landscape additions. The best way to include native plant species in a landscape is to find the nativars that complement your natural landscape. Nativars allow plants to grow higher and be more colorful, but they do not take over or inhibit the growth of other native plants. Nativars are excellent pollen sources for bees and other pollinators! Local beekeepers can provide insight into local native species that the bees need and love!

Helping Water Health Through Plant Choice

When choosing plants for your garden landscape, what you choose may have a significant impact. The right plants can impact the water health in your area. Waterways, lakes, rivers, and streams all depend on the plants to keep them healthy. When being thoughtful about landscaping, excessive or not enough nutrients can be prevented. Plants will influence weeds and algae blooms every year, so take your time and find the best plants!

Supporting Bee Species Survival and Growth

Everyone knows bee survival is critical to food production and environmental health. In the absence of bees and other pollinators, the outlook is dire. We encourage everyone to do their part in protecting and supporting bees. Whether purchasing some local honey, planting pollinator-friendly plants, or providing water sources on your property, every effort helps. Although one person can’t change the course of the world’s critical bee species decline, collectively, we can provide valuable improvement. If you have any concerns about bees on your property, contact D-Tek for help. D-Tek has worked throughout Southern California for over 17 years and offers fast, friendly, and professional services that humanely treat bees.

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Bees' Willingness and Ability to Travel Prevent Organic Honey in the United States

With honey bees willing to travel such a large area to get what they need, it is challenging for our nation's beekeepers to label their honey as organic. According to the existing government definition of organic honey, it is impossible to call honey organic because one can't guarantee that bees stay within one area for all foraging. Think about it this way: if you were to see a bee gathering from a flower and then drew a five-mile radius circle on a map, you would immediately notice it covers tens of thousands of acres. The distance makes it challenging for any beekeeper to claim organic honey, which beekeepers continue to deal with as they market their local honey products to consumers. Regardless of whether you are able to put an organic label on honey, it is always best to purchase honey from your local beekeeper instead of at the grocery store. People should take any opportunity to bring value to their community and businesses in the area.

If you want to purchase local honey, have questions about bees in your area, or need help with a bee concern, contact D-Tek for the most experienced beekeepers and technicians in Southern California. D-Tek is a beekeeper-owned company that has been in business for more than 17 years. D-Tek is dedicated to bee colony preservation and is the only full-service bee company serving Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and Orange Counties.