Tamarisk Trees: Common Out West, but Uncommonly Damaging
Tamarisk (or salt cedar) infestations are yet another example of what happens when people think their back yards are not connected to the natural world. Tamarisk is the name of a family of pretty flowering bushes or small trees from Eurasia. They were first introduced to the East coast sometime in the 1820's, and later found a niche in the American west. They escaped from gardens and soon took over flood plains and river banks. They often have enormous taproots which can suck up hundreds of gallons of water a day. Whole lakes have dried up due to the tamarisks on their shores.