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Is Burning Bush really bad??

Posted by catherinet z5 (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 19, 06 at 20:24

Hi everyone,
We planted lots of those around our house and love them. They don't seem to be going anywhere after 20 years. Are they considered really invasive? I'm in zone 5, and like I said, they're not going anywhere. Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Yes, they are really that bad. They are noxious, non-native invasive exotic plants. Birds eat their fruit, then poop them out all over the place. You haven't lived until you've pulled up tons of Burning Bush in a restoration area at least 10 miles from the nearest parent plant.

Just because you can't see the damage being done doesn't mean it isn't happening. I guarantee you that in 5 years or less it will be illegal to buy, sell, or trade this plant...that's how bad it is.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Yes, it really is bad. I have spent a lot of time trying to get these out of the property I am trying to restore (Westchester County, NY) and it is very difficult. I hear it is very bad in CT also.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Thanks ahughes and bob,
DH spends alot of time pulling out bush honeysuckle.....so I can imagine. It's too bad. It's such a nice bush. Oh well......I'll have to think of something else. Thanks.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Fothergilla gardenii or any of it's cultivars would be a great replacement for the burning bush.

Lovely 1 inch long bottlebrush looking blooms that smell like honey in the spring, nice foliage in the summer, and the fall colour is spectacular. And it's native to the US.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Some invasive plants spread vegetatively or spread short distances by seed and you can see them escaping from your garden. Others don't and you might never know they are spreading. In many ways the long-distance stealthy spreaders are worse - they invade farther afield and are much harder to control(In many cases short-distance spreaders can also at the same time spread long-distance as well).

Examples of short-distance spreaders include Kudzu, Garlic Mustard, Norway Maple, and Purple Loostrife. In my experience these plants will usually produce offspring nearby and you can tell they're invading natural areas if you are a careful observer. Keep in mind that a "short distance" could be two feet, several hundred yards, or a quarter mile - the nearest offspring might be well beyond your yard so you'd have to search a little and know plants to see the damage being done. I see this often with Norway Maple - there will be a few trees in the yard of some isolated house in the woods, and within a half mile or so there will be a stand of Norway Maples along a roadside. In these cases I bet the owner of the Norway Maple would claim they have never spread beyond the yard.

Long-distance spreaders are mostly plants with seeds spread by birds or the wind. All berry bushes spread by birds, so a seed from your Burning Bush might end up miles away in a few hours and you'd never realize it. Most of the seedlings will appear a lot closer than a mile away, but it can be hard to tell where the parent plant is.

In many cases a maintained yard isn't a very good place for an invasive plant to grow. We mow the lawn, weed the flower beds, and mulch under shrubs so no seedlings may appear in the yard. Seedings might be sprouting all over a nearby woods, but with none appearing in the yard it might not be appearent that your shrubs are the source.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Ya, I've never seen evidence of it's invasiveness up here either CathT... but it must be in the lower latitudes because those down there talk about it like it's viscious. I've often wondered if our winters are just too bitter for it to become invasive but here we have someone from zone 5 AND zone 6 saying it's also invasive in their regions so that kinda shoots my guess out of the water. I've had burning bushes for decades as well and never seen a single volunteer and only once a small sucker.

Fothergilla is also *not* a native here. There is however a "native burning bush" for our region and it's called "Euonymus atropupurea" but good luck finding it. Most nurseries don't even know what it is and I've been to a native plant nursery here in Ontario that says it's stock is 100% native and THEY hadn't even heard of it. They kept insisting I was talking about euonymus OBOVATA which is running strawberry bush but I was not, I was referring to E. atropupurea. E atropupurea is almost identical in structure to the ornamental burning bushes we all have in our gardens which is called "winged euonymus". The native one also has bright autumn colours and I'd be perfectly happy to replace the non-native for the native if only I could find it.

I did find it at one nursery this summer but of course of the several hundred varieties of natives they had at the farm, the only thing they were sold out of was the native burning bush *sigh*.

Barb
southern Ontario, CANADA


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Hi Barb...
There's a nursery northwest of Kingston, ON that I know carries Euonymus atropurpureus...drop them a line.

Here is a link that might be useful: Golden Bough


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Fothergilla is native to the SE US, but grows quite nicely here in NE IL. Since it is a native, I have no issues with recommending it to people who need a replacement for burning bush.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Have you considered Virginia sweetspire (itea virginica) as an alternative? I've been growing three of the Henry's Garnet variety for about 5 years now, and I love it. Leaves get quite red in the fall. I just bought another cultivar, Little Henry, which is a smaller variety, yesterday. The nursery tag even compared it to burning bush in terms of fall color. I've also read that itea holds its leaves longer than burning bush. This plant is absolutely spectacular in the spring, too, when it's in bloom. The white flowers are very attractive to butterflies.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Thanks everyone!


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Spice Bush was reccommended to me as an alternative to Burning Bush. I have also been able to grow itea virginica that I purchased in pots without difficulty.
FYI, I believe there is a native relative to burning bush but it is not widely available for purchase.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

I'll go ahughes798 one further. I'd recommend a non-invasive exotic over an invasive any day, especially if I'm having trouble finding a native substitute.

Catherine,

See if Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima' (Red Chokeberry 'Autumn Brilliance') would work for you. The fall colors are sometimes red, sometimes orange but very nice looking


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Cypsavant, thank you very much for that link. I may well order from them since I'm having such a hard time finding the shrub elsewhere. LOL! I forgot that the common name for it was "Wahoo" ;o) Funny name huh?

Loris, I agree, it all depends on what you want or are willing to live with. Some die-hard conservationists will insist that natives be planted but if all you really want is something of a "lesser evil" so to speak, then by all means, go with a non-native, non-invasive. I'm glad you brought this up because sometimes you do see people trying to force their own beliefs down other people's throats and it's not a nice thing to do. My feeling is that if you aren't into "Native gardening" then ANY tree is better than no tree at all, environmentally speaking. No doubt about it a native tree and even a native that is "regionally or locally native" is even better but that is simply just the "ideal" and not always to the taste of the buyer.

Thanks both for your comments.

Barb
southern Ontario, CANADA


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 22, 06 at 15:43

Saw Euonymous alata on a hike in the Adirondack Park for the first time ever this summer. Maybe I should bring along roundup on hikes? Seems it can get away in the upper lattitudes as well.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Kwoods, I know that with the E. alatus in my yard that it's a prolific seeder. You'd think it would be everywhere and obviously in some areas it IS. I wonder why it doesn't seem so here? Is this common with a lot of plants that they can be invasive in some places and not so much in others?

Barb


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

I'm glad you brought this up because sometimes you do see people trying to force their own beliefs down other people's throats and it's not a nice thing to do. My feeling is that if you aren't into "Native gardening" then ANY tree is better than no tree at all, environmentally speaking.

Knottyceltic,

Yeah, imparting info about the damage invasives do to the ecosystems they show up in is "forcing beliefs." Would you perhaps prefer lists of citations from google?

This is a native plant forum. Designed specifically for fans of plants NATIVE TO NORTH AMERICA. Says it right in the description. If someone isn't into native gardening, then my suggestion is that there are tons of other forums one can go to. Why push exotics, invasive or not, in a native plant forum? Who's trying to push what down who's throat? I don't go into the trees and shrubs forum and espouse only natives.

ANY tree is better than no tree at all, environmentally speaking.

Not really. How about that Buckthorn or Norway Maple?


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

  • Posted by suenh cold end of 4! (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 23, 06 at 7:54

burning bush and Norway maple are now banned plants here in NH.
Haven't run into a wild burning bush yet on my property but I have seen wild barberry. I had a few wild ones that had gotten some size to them and got out the brush saw. Little ones I just pull on sight. The woods in back of our local bank is full of baby burning bush. Anywhere it's gotten a little light to grow.

I have to admit I like the looks of a big well grown Norway Maple but once I understood the damage it does to the Maple sugar industry it's beauty faded for me.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

I didn't think my post would stir things up so much. I think there are other people on this forum who like me think native gardening is at least partially about providing wildlife habitat in an ecologically responsible way and giving natives a fair chance. Based on the posts I've seen by them over time I actually think both Barb and ahughes798 fall into this category.

I don't think discussing non-invasive exotics as a substitute for invasives in this context is out of place. I think overall it helps since I'm sure many of you get asked by various people who know you're into gardening for plant suggestions. When people ask me, I do look first for a native plant they might like. If I don't find one I can interest them in, I still think I'm accomplishing something if they at least plant something other than an invasive.

I think my opinion differs from Barb's in that I think having invasives that help wildlife is doing more harm than good overall. The individual animals may be benefiting, but I think having uninvaded wild areas is the best thing we can do for native plants and animals I don't feel good about the fact I have some invasives on my property. I'm not entirely sure I'm right about this, since I know I've seen places I would think up on these issues recommend having ground covers I know are invasive in some areas as a substitute for lawn. Another thing I plan on following up on sometime.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

I'm afraid I wasn't clear about much of anything I said and I think people have formed ideas about me based on my lack of ability to express myself properly.

Let me just reply directly to some comments:

Yeah, imparting info about the damage invasives do to the ecosystems they show up in is "forcing beliefs." Would you perhaps prefer lists of citations from google?
No, I don't think it's improper to help people see the negative aspects of planting non-natives or non-native invasives. The problem I have is when some people, not even people here at Garden Web, insist that a person should garden in ANY certain fashion. Given that most of us here at Garden Web are either Canadian or American, we are able to enjoy the freedom of choosing to do what we like. All I said is that "it's not nice".

This is a native plant forum. Designed specifically for fans of plants NATIVE TO NORTH AMERICA. Says it right in the description. If someone isn't into native gardening, then my suggestion is that there are tons of other forums one can go to. Why push exotics, invasive or not, in a native plant forum? Who's trying to push what down who's throat? I don't go into the trees and shrubs forum and espouse only natives.
Yes, but it doesn't say "Thou must subscribe to the almighty view that every plant/shrub/tree on your property be ONLY of the native variety that is directly descended from the native varieties borne in your region" This would be the "Plant Nazi" forum if all you could do was talk about native plants and only own plots of land with native plants in it. You yourself said that we need to learn about the negative aspects that planting non-natives brings to an environment where they don't necessarily belong. As such, discussing non-natives is essential in a NATIVE PLANTS FORUM by your own admission. This thread is entirely appropriate here.

Your thinking (If I'm not mistaken) seems very black and white on the subject of Native Gardening. You say if you are not into Native Gardening then you should go elsewhere. But where do folks like myself and others go who have 100% native gardens in some areas of our property and mixed native and non-native gardens in other areas of our property? I can't believe that it is Garden Web's intent that only PURIST Native gardeners be allowed in this, the Native Plants Forum.

ANY tree is better than no tree at all, environmentally speaking.

Not really. How about that Buckthorn or Norway Maple?

Again, a very black and white view of the world...indeed the ideal would be for every single person in North America to subscribe to the fact that Native is the way to go and never plant another single non-native plant/shrub or tree in their property but this is not reality. Reality is that until people learn (and that includes ME very much) about the negative aspects of non-native gardening, then planting 'something' is better than nothing at all. A sea of buckthorn or Norway maple is STILL better on clearcut land that is eroding into the ocean. Is it ideal or even a good idea? Of course not, but it is still better than nothing. A concrete parkinglot is better off with trees than no trees. Native would be ideal and no concrete even better but the reality is that...well, it's just the reality. We can't be black and white on the subject even though this is entitled "Native Plants Forum". Certainly those who post here are somehow into Native plants but you can't tell people that they must be 100% into Native plants or "go somewhere else". My statement has truth to it. Any tree is better than no tree at all. I should have followed up with "Native would be best" but I assumed that individuals here are intelligent enough to fill in the blanks. Any tree will supply the environment with shade, erosion control, habitat for animals and birds etc... so my statement was only to say that "a tree, is better than no tree at all", not to say it is the BEST alternative in the least.

I don't think discussing non-invasive exotics as a substitute for invasives in this context is out of place. I think overall it helps since I'm sure many of you get asked by various people who know you're into gardening for plant suggestions. When people ask me, I do look first for a native plant they might like. If I don't find one I can interest them in, I still think I'm accomplishing something if they at least plant something other than an invasive.

I agree and I would be the first to suggest a native as the best overall replacement/substitute which is what I believe I did here. I suggested the Euonymus Atropurpurea or Easter Wahoo. I'm not saying you (Loris) accused me of anything at all. I'm responding to Ahughes through your comments.

I also agree with you that this thread or anything discussed in it is out of place for the same reason that I mentioned above, that in order to learn new things about the plants and trees we have in our gardens we have to learn about the negative things as well. I never knew Euonymus alatus was "bad" until I came to the native plants forum and had we only been allowed to discuss Natives, I would have likely never learned this. As such I have been looking for a regionally native Burning Bush to replace my exotic ones. If we don't discuss these things then the forum is almost pointless to anyone but dyed in the wool native gardeners.

I think my opinion differs from Barb's in that I think having invasives that help wildlife is doing more harm than good overall. The individual animals may be benefiting, but I think having uninvaded wild areas is the best thing we can do for native plants and animals I don't feel good about the fact I have some invasives on my property. I'm not entirely sure I'm right about this, since I know I've seen places I would think up on these issues recommend having ground covers I know are invasive in some areas as a substitute for lawn. Another thing I plan on following up on sometime.

Here I think is an example of me not explaining myself properly (once again and I blame no one but myself for that). I DON'T believe that invasive non-native plants should be used simply for decorative value or habitat etc... but again that is my fault for not explaining myself clearly (certainly not your fault Loris). The problem is that I'm not educated on every plant that is out there. If I know a plant is harmful to my environment, then I've always removed it. I've spent years removing Garlic Mustard (a european non-native invasive plant) from my woods. I've also spent years removing Oriental Bittersweet, Spreading Dogbane, non-native thistles and tick trefoil. I would never intentionally plant something that is going to be harmful and even stay away from regionally native NATIVES that can be invasive and smother out the delicate, low lying native plants. I'm learning but it's on a slow curve and if it's expected that I come here and be an expert from the get go, then what's that saying about Garden Web or it's community? I don't have a black and white mindset about gardening. There IS an ideal, utopian mindset amongst some GW'ers which is what I was referring to when I talked about getting things "shoved down one's throat". Would I love to have every plant, shrub and tree on my property a locally or regionally descended native? Of course. Can I afford it? Maybe some day...but the fact of the matter is that my property is mixed. The trouble is that utopian, Native Gardening is just simply an "IDEAL" and it's not for anyone else to decide who should plant what and where those people should or should not participate, where GW is concerned. It would be great if everyone here, including myself had 100% native gardens but that's simply not the reality. This is NOT an exclusive club where you may only discuss Natives or GET OUT. (This comment is also not aimed at you Loris, it's for Ahughes or anyone else that aspouses the George W Bush notion that you are either with us or against us).

Barb
southern Ontario, CANADA


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Question for Ahughes...

Fothergilla is native to the SE US, but grows quite nicely here in NE IL. Since it is a native, I have no issues with recommending it to people who need a replacement for burning bush.

But it's not native to CathT so far as I can remember from her posts around garden web. She's from possibly MI? Is that right CathT? Fothergilla is native to the southern states whether it be gardenii, major or whatever. Is it not just as precarious to bring a species clear across a vast country as it is to bring it clear across an ocean? I'm quite sincerely asking this question as I don't know the answer. I also ask because...and I'll use Fothergilla as an example just because it's come up...but in the southern states Fothergilla has certain pests, certain parasitic foe, certain ally as well as foe flora and fauna and so on. But place it in an environment that is contrary to where it's naturally been, doesn' that subject the native local flora to a new and potentially harmful situation where the Fothergilla could be a host plant for disease that might not otherwise be present? Clearly the Fothergilla no better belongs in MI any more than the asian Honeysuckles or the asian Kudzu or EVEN the Euonymus alatus Burning Bush. yes? or no? I don't know...so what's your thinking on this?

Barb
southern Ontario, CANADA


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Knottyceltic,

I haven't formed any ideas about you, how could I? I don't know you.

(This comment is also not aimed at you Loris, it's for Ahughes or anyone else that aspouses the George W Bush notion that you are either with us or against us).

However, I'm glad you know me well enough to know what I espouse. Give me a break. I didn't espouseanything except Fothergilla Gardenii. I suggested it or one of it's cultivars as a nice substitute. Fothergilla popped immediately in my head because it has brilliant fall colour, and also has pretty blooms in the Spring. It has the extra bonus of being native. Butterflygal also suggested Itea, another wonderful plant that would work for Catherinet.

Nowhere did I say, nor have I ever said, nor will I ever say, only plant a native, or only plant natives, or natives are the only plants to plant, or if you don't plant natives you're _________. I don't have, and wouldn't want(right now), a purely native landscape, otherwise I wouldn't have tomatoes, beans, tree peonies, irises, etc., etc., etc.

I don't have a black and white mindset about gardening.

Who does? But try going on the tomato forum and start talking about growing brugmansias, and see what happens.

Further, I didn't say that talking about non-native invasives was counter to the purpose of this forum. Understanding the biology of non-native invasives, how they escape cultivation, and the prevention of same is vital to the protection of natives in the wild.

This is NOT an exclusive club where you may only discuss Natives or GET OUT.

No one said anything about anyone getting out. I suggested that if one is not into native plants, and is looking to plant their landscape with some non-natives, there are tons of other forums covering exotics that might be much more of service. Wouldn't it be a waste of a person's time to come to this forum looking for advice on how to grow roses, when there's a dedicated forum for that? That is exactly what I meant.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

I apologize to you Ahughes if I have misinterpreted anything you have said but you did clearly say that we should talk native or go to another forum.

I 'would' sincerely like to know though, if moving a plant from it's native range, to another range, makes that plant an "alien species" that could potentially harm the ecosystem in the same way we have discussed a non-native can, from another continent. How far away is too far? How close is ecologically "safe"? Is there any studies done on this? The reason I ask is that in my limited understanding of things, I would have considered something like Fothergilla to be a "non-native" species for me. Maybe I'm totally wrong about that, I don't know. The reason I would have considered it a non-native species (for me and my region/locale) is that:

1. I am not just out of it's range and natural habitat, I'm WAAAAY out of it.

2. If it's planted here, could it not potentially be as destructive as a shrub that comes from as far away as Africa or Asia?

3. It's far away but not 'that' far so it is possible it could have a genetically close relationship to a locally native shrub here, it could cross polinate and destroy the genetic uniqueness of the locally native species. I don't know of an example of 2 North American species that have done this but I can offer the example of the White Mulberry which I think came from Asia. It crossed with our Red Mulberry and at least here in southern Ontario the Red Mulberry is almost all but extinct because the White Mulberry cross has taken over as the superior species.

4. The new species brought in from outside it's range could potentially crowd out other local species which are essential food or habitat sources for locally native fauna.

5. The new species could prove to be a vector for tree bourne diseases.

and so on...

Barb
southern Ontario, CANADA


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Knottyceltic,

On Googling "Fothergilla gardenii invasive" I do get some hits. The USDA plants database says it is not, because it's seed production is very low, in fact, it is listed as endangered in Florida and threatened in Georgia, or vice versa. And this is in it's ideal habitat. Since it has low seed production, isn't stoloniferous or rhizhomatous, or root suckering, I tend to think of it not being a spreader.

My thinking on invasive species is that native plants can't be invasive, they can be aggresive, certainly.

I really highly doubt that a fothergilla planted in MI or IL will have any environmental impact at all, as it has no known pests or viruses.

http://plants.nrcs.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=plant_attribute.cgi&symbol=FOGA


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Knottyceltic,

What I have been told, and what I believe, is that a native plant is one that was here before the arrival of european settlers. That is the standard that I use for my property. And when I use natives, I narrow it down further by having only plants native east of the Mississippi. I prefer plants of local genotype, if possible, which narrows it down still further.

Plus I subscribe to the idea of ordinary gardeners like myself growing native plants that are extirpated or endangered or threatened in their native ranges, as a hedge against extinction. Which means I bag a lot of blossoms, and do lots of pollination with paintbrushes, so the genotype stays pure.

I do grow some plants that are out of range, but not many. They usually require extra care, which is almost the opposite idea of gardening with native plants. I have one fothergilla, because I think they are beautiful. I did tons of research before I planted it. I am convinced it will not escape cultivation, and just to make sure, I cut off all it's blooms after they expire, and water with Miracid twice a growing season. Since this is such a small shrub, it is no problem to do so. That is about all the extra care it requires. No blooms, no seeds, no problems. I also grow, in pots, various Sarracenias that are native to the south and south east US. Some of them are near extinction or extinct in their native habitats. There is nothing near here for them to cross with..though there are populations of Sarracenia Purpurea 12 miles from here. Pollen doesn't travel that far..but I bag those blooms, too.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

I've been following this train wreck of a thread with some interest. The arguments over what defines "native" have always fascinated me. I've got a pretty wide selection of "native" plants from across Ontario...but considering that we have tundra in the north of our province and Carolinian forest in the south, that's a pretty broad interpretation. I've also got a few "natives" that aren't native to Ontario, but are found elsewhere in Canada or the eastern U.S.
Be that as it may, I mentioned this thread to an old friend of mine, who happens to be an Ojibwe (Chippewa) from northwestern Ontario.
He smiled when he told me that the best plan of action would be to remove all traces of Europeans, plant and animal, from North America. I guess Buckthorn and Norway maple aren't the only invasives.
(I didn't bother to mention the recent DNA studies that seem to show some Ojibwe have pre-Columbian European ancestry...that would only confuse the issue)


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Thanks for the replies Ahughes. I find it kinda strange that there is no information (at least I have never found anything) that explains or even discusses the difference between a regional non-native and an alien species.

From the little bit of info I have seen (as well as the link you provided) it does appear that there is little risk when planting a species from outside it's continental range but I wish there was more information to go on. I've always been told to not only go native but to use species that are genetically suited to your locale. I try to do this when/where I can and have a good source for plants grown from locally collected seed but some species are hard to come by and not always available at this source.

Barb


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Obviously, native gardening-wise, it's better and makes more sense to plant plants that have evolved in your local climate and soil conditions for the last 10K years. No argument there.

However, my soil conditions are no longer the same as they were 10K years ago. I live in what was once a boggy cow pasture, that before that was just a bog or swamp. When the house I live in was built in the 1960's, the land was drained, graded, and topsoil was brought in. I have to plant what will grow in the conditions I have now. In effect, I am dealing with a seriously degraded environment.

I believe that there can be risks if you plant something out of it's continental range. I've heard that switch grass can be a mite peckish in the NW US. I don't remember where I read it, but I'll try to find the article. If I'm planting something out of range, I do tons of research before I plant it...I don't want to cause problems. Fothergilla seems innocuous. So do Dahlias!


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Cypsavant..this isn't a trainwreck...it's a tricycle accident. Go to the Hot Topics forum for train wrecks. I enjoy debate and intelligent discussion.

I'm not talking about people, I'm talking about plants.
Big Diff, obviously, and the two subjects aren't really all that related. Last I checked, plants aren't sentient beings.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

There's an asthetic dimention to this debate that,because this is a gardening site,it might be appropriate to mention.Hopefully,As we becoming aware of the natural plants and ecosystems arounds us, we begin to relise that our initial plans to improve upon nature begins to look more and more like foolish hubris.As Peter Max,upon seeing the Mona lisa for the first time was sure he could do better,All gardeners think they can outdo natures beauty.We all learn better,If were smart.That why emmulating local intact natural enviorments,using local plants materials in an attemp to recreate what was lost we acheive the greatest asthetic potential.If you think your hodgepodge of unrelated plants looks good,maybe you should look again,a bit more critically.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Maybe I'm way out of line for saying this here, but sometimes, when I'm overwhelmed with thinking about trying to keep invasives out of our 33 acres...when it's covered with them, and they are still being sold.....I start wondering if we're just fighting evolution. Maybe certain plants taking over is a survival of the fitest thing. I hate thinking that, since there are so many things we all love that will be "defeated"......but then I start wondering if this is just the way it goes and in the grand scheme of things........this is the way of nature???


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

ah, my dear ahughes, how can the two subjects not be related? We're the ones doing the gardening and bringing in the Garlic Mustard and Norway Maples and Burning Bush...and we're also the ones trying to get rid of them. Nature doesn't seem to care much one way or another.
As to plants not being "sentient beings" - don't breathe a word of that blasphemy in some of the forums on Garden web...else all the people talking to their "little green friends" will feel terribly silly.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

33 acres is a big project for sure.Certainly something you'll need help with.Thats why designing stratagies to maximize results from your efforts is important.Maybe the hostas in the front yard are just a distraction,the hierloom roses,a dead end,the designer bushes against the house,of dubious asthetic value.The back 20,is where your efforts may have real lasting results.Its time to rethink the definition of gardening in a world of declining ecosystems,epecially near areas of human habitation.I want to walk out my front door and be immersed in real nature,undegraded by human disturbances,thats my goal.Near my house there's an abanden road turned horse trail.The comment of most riders as they pass my property in responce to my years of effort,is never,"I like what you've done with your yard",but'What a beautiful spot you've found!'.Success!


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

I know what you mean nywoodsman,
When we moved here, the previous owner spent his days on his tractor, mowing all over the place. We have let it all grow up, except for a couple acres.....where we need to keep it mowed for the finger system septic tank, geothermal system, garden, wood shed, and chicken coop.
I know to many passersby, they must think our fields are such a mess. But it's on it's way to growing up.....with lots of native trees and weeds. I'm like you. That's what I call perfection!
It's funny, but as I spent those years letting it all grow up again, I could feel it healing. More and more birds started coming, butterflies, owls, heron, and other animals. Once we get rid of the bush honeysuckle, it will be even more perfect!


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Catherinet, I know what you mean about bush honeysuckle. It's rampant in the small woodlots around here...I've destroyed most of it on my 150 acres but it's the gift that just keeps on giving...I'm over a decade into this eradication campaign and I want to think I'm winning.
NYwoodsman, an old photograph retoucher once told me that she knew she'd done her job when no one could tell she'd done it. I think we're in the same boat, at least as far as the aesthetics of what we do.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

catherinet,
I often hear "the invasives should survive because they are fittest" or something similar. The whole problem with invasives is that too many of them are being introduced and widely dispersed at the same time that native ecosystems are being disturbed. This leads to rampant invasions. If Norway Maple had found its way across the ocean naturally to an undisturbed North America, it might have started as a few plants, survived, slowly spread, and eventually become a part of the natural flora, complete with a set of natural predators to keep it in check. Instead millions of them are spread all over the place while we disturb lots of ground to allow them a place to spread and overtake native flora so fast that no natural predator is ready to eat them. The result is not another native plant to enrich the flora, but an invasion. There is a big difference between the two situations.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

cypsavant,
I agree......getting rid of this honeysuckle is a lifetime project. Unfortunately, I think we have caused it to grow all over our area, and our neighbors aren't as interested in getting rid of it.......so it will, for sure, be a life-long struggle for us. Now I'm finding the hops vine everywhere too.
I think every single seed from the honeysuckle bush that gets eaten by a bird, and then pooped, grows. Just wish it would get a virus or something!
ladyslppr,
Thanks so much for that explanation. It makes alot of sense. But I fear if we're going to allow such constant and endless import and export of all these trees and shrubs, we can never get a handle on it.
Do you the government will ever appreciate what's happening, and care to do anything about it?


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Every time the government TRIES to do something about "white listing" (banning)certain species, the green industry(nurserymen, plant importers, etc.)calls all the dogs out to try to get the offending legislation scrapped.

A lot of the bad stuff going on, invasive wise, you can blame on this industry. They do bring us lots of nice plants...but they also bring us lots of bad stuff...and they stone REFUSE to regulate themselves, which means it's time to regulate them, IMO.

The government knows all about invasive species, and spends $137 Billion + a year or our tax dollars to try to get rid of them.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

25 years ago, the man who first landscaped this property (and had the house built), bought a bunch of bush honeysuckle, and russian olive from the DNR. Too bad.
We didn't know about invasives for many years (too busy raising kids or being sick). When we finally realized what we had growing all over the place......it had totally taken over. Fortunately, the russian olive seemed to poop out. But this past year, I've been noticing that it did really well everywhere around here.....so it might be back.
It's very frustrating.
I think "the common man" knows nothing about the importance of buying native plants. And I fear he wouldn't care about them, even if he knew.
"I want what I want, dammit", seems to be the common slogan.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

Catherine, when we moved into this house about a year and half ago, I had 3 burning bushes at the side of the house. I had these weeds growing under it, I couldn't pull them, so I got out some Round-Up. I was far too busy trying to get the inside of this old house restored, that I wasn't paying attention to those weedy things under the burning bush, but knew when I had done enough in here, to be able to move outside and start my true passion, those burning bushes would be gone. It took me awhile, and a few more sprays of Round-Up under those darn bushes, when one day, I got down and really examined what the weedy things were. They were baby burning bushes. You can imagine that those 3 bb's weren't in a huge area, but I bet I had a hundred babies under it and I'd already killed off another few hundred with Round-Up. The next day they came out. I also had Japanese barberry in the front yard, that I had removed. Or so I thought. Remember now, this was a year ago. This year, just a week ago, I noticed something growing and it was barberry. I honestly don't get the fascination with bb. To me, they get green, then turn red, maybe, then the leaves fall off. Big deal. No blooms, no nothing. Just blah to me.

Lots of good points have been brought up as to what constitutes native. I have always heard it goes back to before the European settlers were here. And in no way are we talking about people, we're talking plants. Why people got drug into this conversation is beyond me. Anyway, the other question that comes up, is what is native to me, is it really native to you. Or just because something is native in NJ, doesn't necessarily make it native in IL. On that point, I disagree. I believe native means native, where ever you live in the US. Or Canada. Some will say it's an exotic because it comes from another part of the US. I haven't gotten my brain wrapped around that one and I really don't understand that thinking. I understand that just because something is native in say the Pacific Northwest, doesn't mean it will flourish here, but I don't understand why that makes it not native to me. (I think I'm hung up on the word as I re-read this post, but I'll leave it as it stands and just add this sentence you're reading now.) As April says she has the fothergilla (which I want), I grow Euonymus americanus (not native to my area). I also grow the Euonymus atropurpureus, which is native to my area.

And then all the local genotype and all comes into play. I do believe in that if it's possible. But sometimes, you can't find the plant you want that's grown locally from local seed. I've heard time and time again that the big box stores get their plants from TN or OR or (pick a state), yet my own local little nursery ships in his trees and shrubs from OR. OR isn't anywhere near me, yet if I can't find it at a place that sells local seed, grown locally, then I will buy it from him. I'm not sure what else I'm supposed to do.

And lastly, there are natives that are considered to be invasive as I understand it. What they are, I'm not sure, but I believe I have heard it said. I thought there was a native viburnum that is considered an invasive in Southern states? And others too, but the viburnum is stuck in my head.

It gets more confusing the more you learn, instead of getting easier the more you learn.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

ahughes,
Same situation here in Canada. Norway maple is pushed at a lot of nurseries, at the same time as its crowding our native sugar maples (and national emblem) out of the forest.
Just recently I watched an Ontario based gardening program where they were delighting in Himalayan Balsam (an enormous exotic form of touch-me-not or jewelweed). It's already a major invasive in the UK and and in Canada on the West Coast...I've already seen the stuff spreading from waterfront gardens on one of our local lake systems.

terryr, in my mind it's impossible to separate the plants from the people...we're the ones who make it all happen, good or bad. I "drug" them into this conversation because we're all responsible for how things got to be the way they are, in one form or another. Sometimes I think "native gardening" is more truly "naive gardening" in that any attempt to fully restore things to a pre-European settlement status is just completely impossible. That said, wanting to grow indigenous species as a positive way to impact the environment, or simply for the fact that they're fascinating makes perfect sense, as far as I'm concerned.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

I think that avoiding doing buisness with nurseries that sell invasive plants is the first step.And letting them know why they,er losing a customer may have some impact.It should be common knowlegde that the typical nursery makes its money by getting the gullible to pay for weeds,and this practice has wider negetive consequences.Inform your friends.


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RE: Is Burning Bush really bad??

My goodness this thread has gone from a simple question to one that can't even be answered but the converstation is so very interesting all the same.

I agree also that the discussion of native species can't go on without the inclusion of what North American people have done to create it's destruction. I mean the plants didn't just show up here on a boat all by themselves, nor do they magically appear in the stock of garden centers and box stores, do they. That's not to say that we should point fingers or be cruel to people over it, it's just simply a fact that *we* did it and it will take *us* to undo it (even if that's even remotely possible).

Government is another sore spot with me because as much as we'd like to think that the government has the countrys'best interests at heart, that's simply just not the case. Take a look at governmental sites where you will find lists of plants that are deemed "noxious", "invasive" or "banned" by government. If you go over the list and then research why those particular plants have been deemed such, you will find that the only reason a plant is ever deemed noxious, invasive or banned is because it has had some monetary impact on either agriculture or some other money making venture. Take a look at those lists again and ask yourself, why isn't ____________ on the list? 99.999% of the time it will not exist on the list simply because it doesn't have some economic impact. In crown land designated not to be used for forestry, there will never be an interest in controlling a species even when it's found to be eradicating the naturally occurring species in existence. Why? No economic impact. Look how long it took for the government to be involved in the Purple Loosestrife issue and even when they did become involved it was a poor and short lived eradication project that went nowhere. Yes, the loosetrife was drying up natural wetland ecosystems and depriving wildlife of sanctuary, breeding ground and foodsources but HECK! One less step toward housing development and economic boom for whatever areas are affected. Truely I don't believe we can look to our governments to protect anything. I think a better avenue is to USE our governments to educate the masses as to the reasons for using native natural plantings and avoiding non-native exotics. Our kids should be taught these things in school from the time they are small and everyone should be educated by our natural resources departments through the media. Banning things rarely works but educating people has always been a much more effective tool. Banning alcohol or cigarettes just gets people's back-hairs up but when the Ministry of health and Welfare starts educating people though tv documentaries, magazine ads and television commercials and educates with factual, VISIBLE information, it is a much more effective means of curbing behavior. Additionally government often has one division competing against another with laws and ordinances and such, in complete opposition. To give a quick example, the "Common Milkweed" here in Ontario was placed on the Noxious Weeds list for Ontario. It was placed there because although it is a native species that was not invasive, it was impacting two very lucritive markets in the Ontario economy. It is poisonous to livestock if they eat it so grazing animals were at health risk and it's seeds would blow into farm fields and potentially replace the plant that was supposed to grow there as a crop. So as a noxious weed the government makes it incumbent upon any landowner to destroy said plant if it comes into existence on their property. Farmers of livestock and crops blast it out of existence by chemical means on their properties and in some locales it was destroyed at roadsides by regular spraying. Where it wasn't destroyed at roadsides, it was killed anyway by farm runoff. Then studies began trickling in that the Monarch Butterfly species was in severe decline. Hmmmm... So another part of government labels the Monarch Butterfly as "a species of special concern" (presently) but hands are tied because the only law that would protect them from decline would be that which prohibits destruction of their natural habitat but this law doesn't kick in until the species is at risk of extinction. Here again, the government is at odds not only because of economic reasons but also because they've created laws that directly oppose eachother. Bottom line is the MONEY though. Again, educating the masses is a much better approach so that the people can guide the government rather than the people just sitting idly by as the government guides itself in whatever direction they feel best. Sadly I think that the upper levels of government will always control the amount of education that people will receive just simply to keep a grip on the economic issues.

I believe native means native, where ever you live in the US. Or Canada. I wish there were someone here who could guide us on this issue because although I appreciate what you are saying, I don't think that the issue can be that simple. Flora doesn't make distinctions of state lines or borders or OCEANS for that matter but there are definitely some distinctions that species themselves make that keep them (each species) in certain ranges for very long periods of time. And I think 'this' might be the key to why we really shouldn't be moving species from outside their ranges either. I won't go back and look for, who said it, but the person who posted here and talked about a tree seed that somehow could make it to the shores of North America from Europe or elsewhere abroad and become established... remember that comment? It seems to me that this is likely how our native species would have evolved in the first place but that kind of distribution would have taken hundreds, thousands and millions of years in which time each individual species would have developed natural allys and natural enemies in the ecosystem to keep everything in balance and check. But what we humans have done is plopped billions of plants and trees (and animals) into spaces where they don't just belong but places where hundreds or billions of years of evoloution have not been permitted to find them a niche where "checks and balances" are not in place, to keep the plants in check. In this instance I think it is likely just as risky to move a plant from (as another poster mentioned) tundras of Northern Ontario, to the woodlands of southern Ontario. The checks and balances are just not in place to ensure that the species is not going to grow like gangbusters and crowd out species that are locally or regionally native to that new area.

I guess we can only do what we can do but I wouldn't be too hard on yourselves when you aren't sure if you are winning a losing battle or not (ie. the honeysuckle) because the way I see it, is that doing 'something' is better than doing nothing at all and stop to think about it, you are not just pulling out your honeysuckle or burning bushes or kudzus... you are on here talking about it and in doing so you are educating others about these species as well. There is power in numbers and the more that people are educated, the more that can be done in terms of governments, communities, garden centers, parks, protected lands and private lands from very large to very small.

For me personally I would love to eventually replace all my non-natives with locally or regionally native species but like anything it's going to take time. European settlers have been reeking havoc on the continent for just over 1000 years, so change is going to happen very slowly as well. Changing people's minds and attitudes will be the biggest hurtle I think.

Barb
southern Ontario


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