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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

News Flash: Summer Glow Tamarix NOT Invasive In Illinois!

The other day I posted a picture of my new little Tamarix twigs that I purchased and received from EBay. I was fantasizing about my little twig growing into a beauty like the one below which I was introduced to on last summer's garden walk, and then I got this. A comment from a reader saying I better watch out that these things are invasive and against the law in some parts of the country. Thanks, reader, for raining on my beautiful Tamarix parade! No, I'm kidding, I appreciate the information and lord knows I don't want to be famous one day for planting something in the Midwest that ruins the environment. So, on the suggestion of the commenter I emailed my local extension office.

Reply from Ask Extension -- Hort Corner -- Trees & Shrubs
Extension Message (Tamarisk = invasive ?)
Hi,Different parts of the country have different plants on their invasive plant lists. Here in Illinois Tamarix is not listed as an invasive plant species.

I'm pretty darn excited. I had read that Tamarix can be invasive but considering the photo above is one of the only 2 I've ever seen in my life (the other was right around the corner from the garden walk house), I wondered if it was really that invasive here or if we are really just that compliant with not planting invasive plants in Illinois. And since I was so not looking forward to the moral dilemma I'd face (A. Plant it anyway and hope for the best or B. Compost it) I'm relieved to learn that I can just plant it and enjoy it.

Man, gardening can really be stressful!


  1. It looks like a really pretty tree .. but you are right about gardening can be stressful .. you trust garden centers NOT to seel invasive plants but they still do anyways ..
    Good luck with the tree !

  2. Gina, it looks like the invasiveness concerns are mainly for arid regions, where it will suck up water (and excrete salt!) like no one's business. It might work here in Illinois in a damp area, like where you would also find cottonwoods and weeping willows.

    I've found that it's pretty easy to investigate whether a plant is invasive or not using Google and the local arboretums' websites. Well, if you know what the plant is: I'm just realizing now that I have some volunteer invasives in my yard that I'll have to deal with soon.

  3. Hi Gina - It's good your tamarisk isn't invasive here. Truthfully, I haven't seen any growing in this area at all. That picture is sure beautiful! I'm sure in a few years yours will look just like that.

  4. Thanks for checking into that, Gina. I know I spend weeks every year pulling that stuff out here in Colorado!

  5. Gina,

    That tree is beautiful! Now I want one! I am right here is ChicagoLan too and I have a very soggy spot that might be pergect for it!
    Good to know it's legal. about those Poppies I brought back from my uncles garden without knowing in Colorado.oops!

  6. Gina hi

    I had a tamarisk in my small suburban UK garden, and it was no problem at all. Thrived and stayed very neat. Never became too large or invasive. But then, we get a lot of rain here and it never gets very warm (more's the pity). Don't know what it would be like in a warmer, drier climate.

  7. I went to a home and garden tour last Saturday here in Dayton Ohio. There were a couple homes featuring Tamarix. They were very striking and got plenty of positive comments. The one I liked best and this training may work for you was to tie it up straighter so it won't droop open so much. I want to add this tree to our yard too. Cindy

  8. The species is highly invasive along southwestern riparian systems. It displaces native vegetation and acts as a poor replacement habitat for wildlife. The species is also present in the southeast and scattered throughout the Midwest. It is pertinent that you understand that even though you only planted a tree, this tree can disperse millions of seeds that can cause this species to become invasive in your area. It should be a duty as a human being to not plant anything that can disrupt the ecosystem. So, basically I am saying that be aware of what you plant and know all the facts first. By the way, this is my study specimen so I know about this species.

  9. We just bought one too! We are in MN, and our garden center, with a Master Gardener, with a PhD said that up here it is NOT invasive...I imagine that is the same in Illinois. Since we have winters and are not drought ridden, it will NOT be a problem! Enjoy your tamarix! I will plant mine soon too!