Invasive plants damage eco-systems

Invasive plants damage eco-systems; prevent the spread of aggressive varieties!

Credit: Central Kootenay Invasive Plant Committe

Tips to help prevent the spread of aggressive varieties

Gardeners in B.C. enjoy some of the best growing conditions in Canada, allowing for a spectacular display of attractive exotic and native trees, shrubs and flowers. However, these growing conditions can also encourage invasive or unwanted plants.

Invasive plants jump the garden fence and become a problem along roadways, rangelands, disturbed open areas, public parks and residential areas. They impact the environment, economy, and in some cases, human health and safety. Introduced to areas that do not host their natural predators, invasive plants grow rapidly, spread quickly, and can form dense patches that displace native species and disrupt natural ecosystems.

2010 Healthy Garden Guide

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By making informed choices, gardeners can make a difference in the prevention of invasive plants and help safeguard B.C.’s environment and economy for future generations.

Growing a non-invasive garden

Image: L. Scott

Image: R. Mueller

Image: L. Scott

Select non-invasive exotic and/or regional native plants. Native plants are naturally adapted to the local environment. Avoid picking plants from roadsides, as many wildflowers are aggressive invasive plants.

Oxeye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum; pictured at left, top) is an invasive plant that is so over-run in B.C. that it is mistaken for a native wildflower. A single mature plant can produce up to 26,000 seeds.

Learn about invasive plants in your area and select the right plant for the right place. Be suspicious of exotic plants promoted as “fast spreaders” or “vigorous self-seeders,” as these are often invasive plants.

Avoid purchasing or planting yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus; pictured at left, middle), a highly aggressive invasive plant that is still sold by some retail outlets.

Dispose of invasive plant parts and seeds responsibly (bag and landfill or incinerate). Most invasive plants should not be composted.

Several invasive plants were removed on this roadside during a “Communities Pulling Together” weed pull hosted in Penticton last summer (pictured at left, bottom).

Deadhead (clip off) flowers, seedpods, and berries of known invasive plants to prevent reproduction through seeds and to reduce seed spread by birds, wildlife, pets and people.

Control invasive plants on your property using site and species appropriate methods. For example, hand pulling, digging, cutting and mowing.

Participants in a “Communities Pulling Together” weed-pull removed yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus) from wetland in the central Kootenay region, this summer.

Replace invasive plants with non-invasive alternatives. Refer to the Grow Me Instead booklet to find suggested alternatives for 13 of B.C.’s most unwanted invasive plants.

Establishing a non-invasive garden is a great way to help prevent the spread of invasive plants. Other ways you can help are to report invasive plants (1-888-WEEDSBC), participate in Communities Pulling Together weed-pull events, and support local botanical gardens, nurseries, and gardening clubs that promote, display or sell non-invasive plants.

Grow Me Instead

The 30-page Grow Me Instead booklet helps raise awareness and improve industry practices when it comes to controlling invasive plants. Find out more by clicking here.

Julianne Leekie is the communications coordinator for the Invasive Plant Council of BC, a grassroots, non-profit society working collaboratively to build cooperation and coordination of invasive plant management in BC. For more information or to become a member (at no cost) visit, email or call 1-888-WEEDSBC.