Planting season: could you grow invasive plants? What there is to know

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The planting season has started in the United States. When planning your garden or landscaping for the season, it’s important to know which plants could potentially be environmentally unsafe or even illegal to plant in your state.

What is an invasive plant? According to the US Forest Service, invasive plants are species that are not native to an area and have the potential to harm the economy, the environment, or human health.

  • Invasive plant species succeed because they produce large amounts of seeds, which are easily distributed by birds, wind, or even human behavior.
  • Invasive plants are generally hardy and have aggressive root systems that could potentially disrupt the growth of neighboring plants.

What’s so bad about invasive plants? The US Forest Service states that invasive plants “alter the balance of nature on which all species depend.”

  • The Forest Service reports that these plants have “contributed to the decline of 42% of endangered and threatened species in the United States” and that for 18% of these endangered species, invasive plants were the very cause of the decline. their decline.
  • Invasive species pose a threat to native plants, compete for sunlight, moisture, nutrients and space, and can reduce overall plant diversity.
  • Invasive plants can harm wildlife habitats and lead to poor quality agricultural land.
  • They have also been reported to degrade water quality and increase soil erosion, reports the Forest Service.

What can you do to help? Invasive plants vary from state to state. What is considered perfectly acceptable in one state might be invasive and possibly illegal in another state. To make sure you’re not planting or spreading invasive plants, check the US Department of Agriculture’s invasive species list for your state.

According to the Forest Service, here are some ways to stop the spread of invasive species:

  • Avoid picking noxious weed flowers and bringing them home, and avoid picking unidentified wildflowers.
  • Drive only on established roads and trails to avoid spreading weeds through your tires.
  • If you have livestock, make sure their feed is certified weed-free.
  • Do not camp or drive in weed infested areas.

Alternative cultivation options: Some invasive plants were first introduced to the United States for ornamental and decorative purposes, and some of them can be very pretty. Here is a list of some common invasive plants and their safe native alternatives, provided by The Associated Press:

  • Invasive: Winged burning bush.
  • Native alternative: Northern highbush blueberry or black chokecherry.

  • Invasive: Miscanthus grass.
  • Native alternatives: Bluestem or Prairie Dropseed.

  • Invasive: Butterfly bush.
  • Native alternatives: California lilac or white-flowered wild hydrangea.

  • Invasive: Scotch broom.
  • Native alternatives: Mormon tea or California flannel bush.

  • Invasive: Rose Rugosa.
  • Native alternatives: Arkansas rose, California wild rose, Carolina rose, Rosa Virginiana, Rosa woodsii and prairie rose.

  • Invasive: Wisteria from China and Wisteria from Japan.
  • Native alternative: American wisteria.

  • Invasive: Japanese barberry.
  • Native alternatives: American beauty berry, winter holly, or red barberry.
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