Invasive Species Defending Your Condo's Landscape

 Australian pines are a cause of contention in River Bridge, a planned community  of 1,100 homes in the City of Greenacres in Palm Beach County. Some residents  want these trees removed; others defend them.  

 The River Bridge Property Owners Association in 2011 took a hands-off approach,  noting that a county requirement to remove existing Australian pines (also  called Casuarina trees) applies only within 500 feet of a designated natural  area.  

 The fuss over River Bridge’s Australian pines arose for several reasons. Their defenders like their stately  appearance and the dense shade they provide, but opponents note that they  spread aggressively; they have thick, shallow, broad roots that overrun lawns;  and they emit a chemical that discourages the growth of other plant species  nearby. Also, their brittle wood breaks easily. Entire trees are prone to  topple in high winds.  

 Australian pines also invade beaches, where their sprawling root system  discourages sea turtles and American crocodiles from nesting.  

 Crawling, Flying and Creeping

 Australian pines are not the only invasive species giving Floridians a major  headache. Giant snakes, snails and rats are threatening to upset the ecosystem  of the Sunshine State.  

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