Thoughts on Invasive Plants
The invasive issue never fails to raise hackles and it has again so , HERE GOES. I am outspoken about this and nothing will make me not be. I have seen the damage in the years that I have lived.
I inherited a piece of land with my sisters in Pennsylvania that use to have a large population of wild indian slippers on it (The kind advertised for $150 each) plus a dearth of other treasures. When I was young it was surrounded by woods and a few farms. Now it is surrounded by subdivisions and the 100' trees branches are breaking under the weight of Qinoa ackbea, cork screw vine and amur maples choking out the old trees. My sisters and I would meet there from all over the world to come and combat the weeds that had flown in with the birds from the new (now old) sub devisions.It was our chainsawing vacation. Wisteria and Jappanese bittersweetchoked my aunt's property. WE are talking about acres of sweet smelling wisteria. a site to behold in the spring but the trees are dying under the weight.
I plant natives because I live out with 1000 and 8 thousand acre ranches around me. My immediate neighbors have 40 and 80 acre spreads. No one is out there weeding with a fine toothed comb like you guys in the burbs. I would love to grow some Australian wattles but fear that they would become too happy and their seed making capabilities from that huge show of blossoms would come back to haunt me and my corner of Eden. We do not like handling massive amounts of roundup and Remedy and pouring poison on our land nor do our livestock like it also. Invassive plants are an issue and a huge head ache to us that cost us time and money. I bet you guys have never read the application rates for acreage spraying of poison.
We live in a world that is out of balance. The invassive plant list are chronological list of historical choices made years ago. Did the plant collector that brought in Multiflora rose or Poligonum cuspidatum have anything but the beautiful nature of them on their minds. Could they even imagine them destroying huge swaths of the Appalachians and northern mid west.. Further south we run into Kudzu and perennial morning glories that swallow other large swaths of land. Do I think these pretties should be made illegal,...you betcha. My grandparents and her generation planted Japanese bittersweet, wisteria,, My mothers generation planted wisteria, and Sweet Autumn clematis. and my generation are planting corkscrew vine, porcelain berry and quinoa ackbea in the north. In the south we have our own large morning glories, and fast growing trees, and spreading grasses.
If a plant makes the invasive plant list, the horse is already out of the barn. I rate all my plants for garden behavior. I am concerned about my Fennel, dill, and roman chamomile. After a wet winter, I am amazed at the down hill travel of the seed from my vegetable garden into my gorge that then travels through a gorgeous wilderness.. Dill and Fennel are everywhere, AND guess what, They are on the invasive plant list. I remember watching the fennel choked hills of washington state. and seeing the spanish broom spreading willy nilly. They are known for their wet winters.
A plant does not have to be illegal to plant or trade to be put on a invasive plant list. That is reserved for the worst offenders, usually water born pretties. IT IS A SUGGESTION and I am suggesting and educating here. I will continue to speak my mind about this. If you don't like it, well, I suggest rolling your eyes and saying , oh there goes Watanamara again because if you talk about planting an invassive , I will most likely suggest that you check your invasive plant list, and , YES, guilt trip you. Al is fair in love and gardening...
I don't know how I feel about the mandating issue. I dislike it and I like it. I agree we are a land of too many laws. Warning labels are not read,. Out spoken people bearing unwanted news are pressured into shutting up by bringing up the subject by their peers. Laws have gotten some of the very worst offenders out of the stores. Still many persist. New polygonums with similar regenerating tactics and not the bad reputation are sold in nurseries. If we don't talk about it how do you get to think about it. How do we learn to curb that urge to buy an unknown pretty thing, our drug of choice to an addicted gardener. You should talk to some biologist about this issue. It is an eye opener.
I am split about th making illegal. I am glad that they have listed water hyacinth. That one has a large fine and a jail sentence. I do not know if anyone has ever been jailed for selling it but one does not find it in your big box. One does find wisteria, chinese tallow, nandina in the stores. Austin has pressured the stores to not sell certain plants. It is hard to get people to act responsibly when people have the severe wants for something pretty.
I live on acreage now. I am fighting three thistles that were originally brought in as ornamentals to the country, a rose, four grasses ( one was brought in as an ornamental and has earned the reputation as the countries most maligned grass), three clovers (escaped from cover crop cultivation).
My grandfather fought scotch thistle over a 5,000 acre area (neighbors spreads also) while his wife planted bittersweet. The irony does not escape me. It is scotch thistle chopping time and clover spraying time for me now, the irony does not escape me that I am following in his footsteps..
I do ask you to be aware of the invasive plant list and THINK, THINK, THINK before you plant. and watch the behavior of your plants of the plants that you plant and yank them before they take over or escape. Unfortunately, you do not control the wind or the birds..
There's my rant and I am sticking to it.