Nebraska’s newest named noxious weed is beginning to find its way into the wetlands of Southwest and Central Nebraska. It can be found along the Platte River, including areas in Eastern Nebraska (the mouth of the Platte). This perennial tree, or shrub, spreads with highly viable seeds and plant parts, quickly forming a monoculture in the infested area. Mature plants can absorb up to 200 gallons of water per day, giving it the ability to dry up creeks and small lakes.
The reason this plant is considered noxious is:
1. Each plant generates thousands of highly viable seeds.
2. Plant can regenerate from plant parts
3. A mature plant can use up to 200 gallons of water per day
4. There are no natural predators for the plant in America.
5. It is aggressive.
6. Negative impact on the environment, especially in waterways.
Saltcedar is non-native, has no natural enemies, and can quickly form a monoculture along lakes and waterways. Native riparian species are quickly displaced by saltcedar, which in turn causes displacement of native birds and animals that generally feed on seeds and leaves of native and beneficial plants. Once established the plants become so thick that cattle will not graze the area. Saltcedar has many characteristics that make it a very aggressive plant in wetland areas. The seeds are extremely tiny and are similar in size and color to pepper. A tuft of hairs at the tip of the seed aids in dispersal by wind and water. A mature tree can produce up to 500,000 seeds per year. The seeds have a very high intial viability and can germinate as soon as 24 hours after dispersal. Seed is short-lived, however, usually remaining viable for less than a few months. Once a seed germinates, it can grow rapidly to a small flowering shrub in one to two years.
For a more detailed description of Saltcedar, check out the Nebraska Weed Control Association Website.