Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why are the good looking ones so naughty?

Back in July, I wrote about the 12 Relationship Rules for Gardeners. This tongue in cheek post compared the challenges of creating a healthy landscape with the challenges of building a healthy relationship.

Rule number 7 mentioned that choices based on looks alone are often more trouble than they are worth. Such is often the case when we add non-native, invasive species to our landscapes.

As defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Invasive plants are introduced species that can thrive in areas beyond their natural range of dispersal. These plants are characteristically adaptable, aggressive, and have a high reproductive capacity. Their vigor combined with a lack of natural enemies often leads to outbreak populations.

As gardeners, it is sometimes tempting to want to add some of these plants to our landscape. After all, a plant that self-propagates or spreads to quickly fill in a large area can seem like a good thing. But once invasive plants take over our native plants, the result can be:
  • an area's natural biodiversity is destroyed
  • native plants can eventually become permanently eliminated
  • the animals that need native plants for food and habitat cannot use many of the non-native ones
  • it can costs billions of dollars to control invasive exotic plants
Native plants, on the other hand, generally require less water and less chemicals, which make them much friendlier for the local environment.

Once you decide to start creating a more eco-friendly garden, some of the decisions you have to make may be tough ones. But in the long run, choosing native plants, or at least NON-invasive species, will be much better for the environment and much easier to maintain.

Here are links for more information about invasive plant species in the area:

Invasive Species of Concern in Maryland

Invasive Alien Plant Species of Virginia (pdf file)

Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (pdf file)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Website by Water Words That Work LLC