Are Invasive Plants Hogging Your Water Supply?

June_16-39There are a lot of reasons to brush mow: clearing overgrown areas so they’ll look less like a jungle and more like a well-maintained meadow; turning a wild wooded area into usable lawn; maintaining trails, et cetera. There’s one reason that you may not have heard of: protecting your water supply.

Invasive species such as mesquite, cedar, giant hogweed, and kudzu can have a measurable impact on the water supply in your area. By sucking up water before it reaches the underground water table, overgrown areas can suffer from a reduced water supply.

In fact, the state of Texas began a large-scale project to control invasive brush in the mid-1990’s, an attempt to protect the state’s water supply. And it’s working! After clearing just over 20,000 acres of land of invasive plant species in 2013, they increased their water yield by just shy of 1.5 billion gallons.

One rancher, Chuck Knibbe, who has a 1,000-acre ranch, had 120 acres cleared by Texas’ water conservation program. Says Chuck: “The cedar had overgrown an area above some springs so bad that the springs had basically stopped running down to a trickle. When we cleared that cedar out, the springs started flowing again, which is what the program is all about.” (MacCormack, 2013)

Officials note that clearing just 3 acres of cedar or 17 acres of mesquite can save over 300,000 gallons of water annually. Water that would be put to better use for humans, livestock, and non-invasive plants than to caring for the growing invasive plant population.

If you live in an area where the water supply is a particular worry, brush mowing water-sucking invasive plants could be a big help to your community for generations to come.

Check out easy-to-use tools such as the DR Field and Brush Mower for controlling invasive brush on your property.

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