O'Connor Reports on Beach Vitex

Published on Tuesday, June 4, 2024

O'Connor Reports on Beach Vitex

The Invasion of Beach Vitex in the Pensacola Bay Area; monitoring update

Beach vitex (Vitex rotundifolia) is an invasive plant that does well in sandy/sunny locations – the dunes.  It has caused several problems in North and South Carolina (where it was first released to restore dunes after a hurricane).  It first appeared in the Pensacola Bay area on Pensacola Beach in 2012 and Florida Sea Grant has been working with community volunteers to survey and remove this plant from our area.  Below is the current update on the status of this effort. 

Gulf Breeze

3 records

Last surveyed in 2022.

At that time – 1 was completely eradicated, 1 was removed but has returned, 1 was never treated.

NOTES:

New, and more extensive, surveys need to be completed in Gulf Breeze.  

 

Pensacola Beach

61 records

Last surveyed in 2024. 

33 (54%) have been completely eradicated. 

14 (23%) have been treated but have returned – 8 (57%) are on private property. 

13 (21%) have never been treated – 10 (77%) are on private property. 

1 record – status unknown (construction and could not access)

NOTES:

Treatment of the three public locations where BV has returned is currently ongoing. 

We are encouraging private property owners to manage BV on their properties. 

We will assess the status of the unknown property when construction allows. 

 

Perdido Bay

2 records

Last surveyed 2021

1 was completely eradicated.

1 was never treated (private property)

NOTES:

These sites need to be surveyed again to update their status. 

 

Perdido Key

2 records

Last surveyed 2024

Both were treated but have returned.

NOTES:

We encourage the private homeowner to manage the plant on their property. 

 

Gulf Islands National Seashore – Naval Live Oaks

24 records

Last surveyed 2021. 

At that time all were treated but had returned.

NOTES:

In 2021 surveying and management of BV had been taken over by the National Park Service.  Current status is unknown.   

 

Navarre Beach

7 records

Last surveyed in 2021

All had never been treated.

NOTES:

There is a need for a more in-depth survey of BV on Navarre Beach and a management plan to control the spread of the plant. 

 

If you are a coastal landowner and want to learn more about beach vitex, read the following –

https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/2021/04/08/edrr-invasive-species-of-the-month-beach-vitex/.

 

If you believe you have beach vitex and need advice on how to eradicate it from your property, contact Rick O’Connor at the Escambia County Extension office – (850-475-5230 ext.1111; roc1@ufl.edu).

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