Is your garden free of invasive plants?

This guest post comes from Claude-Anne Godbout-Gauthier, the Education & Outreach Coordinator at the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council, to help ensure that the things you’re tending in your garden this spring are beneficial to the ecosystem.

Is your garden free of invasive plants?

Spring has sprung, and the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council, a local environmental non-profit, wishes to remind gardeners and homeowners about invasive plants, and the risks they pose to our environment. Worldwide, invasive species are the second biggest threat to biodiversity, after habitat loss. They tend to grow rapidly, form monocultures, and outcompete native species.

As a gardener, you can help stop the spread of invasive species by learning about the plants in your environment and planting non-invasive exotic or native plants in your garden. An informed consumer is a responsible consumer: beware of plants labeled as “fast spreader” and “vigorous self-seeders”, as they are often invasive. Caution is also to be exercised when buying wildflower mixes, as they often contain invasive plants like common foxglove.

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Common Foxglove is as pretty as it is destructive. Often found in wildflower mixes, it is highly toxic to both animals and humans, and may be fatal if eaten. Moreover, a single plant can produce up to 5,000 seeds and it grows easily in disturbed sites like roadsides, where it outcompetes native species.

A full list of invasive plants that pose a threat to ecosystems in the Sea to Sky region can be downloaded here.

You can also help stop the spread of invasives by disposing of invasive plant debris responsibly. In the Sea to Sky, invasive plants should be disposed of in the household waste stream. Invasives should never be composted, as these plants might survive the composting process and contaminate new sites.

For more information, please visit ssisc.ca/plantwise or the Grow Me Instead booklet.

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