Funding from our Coastal Program helped to remove an invasive species from Walton County. A big thanks to Coastal Program biologist Melody Ray-Culp for helping to coordinate!
WJHG News Channel 7 Article By: Cristina Pfeffer
Its real name is the Chinese Tallow, but most know it as the Popcorn Tree.
Some actually like the color of its fall leaves and the beauty it brings to a landscape design, but others see it as a threat to other plant life.
"Today with these popcorn trees, they are in seed right now, which makes it even more difficult with the cutting down and removing because we need to be careful with the white seeds,” said Brooke Saari, a Marine Science Extension Agent with Okaloosa and Walton Counties.
The white seeds can result in new trees, which crowd out other plant life.
That means workers have to be careful when cutting down the trees.
"For the bigger trees that have a lot of seeds on them we are going to put the herbicide, and get in there and just let the tree decline on its own,” said Saari. “The other ones, we have volunteers who are taking the trees and removing them through a small area as possible."
Once they clear out all of the trees, volunteers picked up the remaining seeds to ensure new trees won't sprout up.
A lot of Popcorn Trees thrive because they are allowed to grow on private lands.
"One of the homeowners thought the tree looked pretty and planted it and it started with one tree and spread to the whole subdivision,” said Jerome Burkett, developer and member of the Homeowners Association in the Indian Bay Subdivision.
But in this case, the Homeowners Association has decided it wants the trees removed. Saari says homeowners can help by removing the Popcorn Trees from their property, or better yet, not even planting them in the first place.