PlantRight Names Three More Invasive Plants To Guide California Nursery Production
This month, Sustainable Conservation’s PlantRight campaign publishes a new list of invasive garden plants to help California’s nursery trade and their customers make more informed planting and purchasing decisions. PlantRight’s 2014 list identifies locally invasive garden plants while providing expert recommendations for beautiful, environmentally safe alternatives.
The following invasive plants are new to the 2014 list:
1. Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima, or Stipa tenuissima)
2. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
3. Yellow water iris (Iris pseudacorus)
“Nobody wants to be selling invasive plants,” says Ken Altman, president of Altman Plants, based in Vista, California. “PlantRight’s new list provides the nursery industry science-based and regionally specific information to make the right plant choices.
“With any luck, and the right amount of education and collaboration, I can see the industry phasing out invasive plants in a couple of years,” he says.
Since 2006, PlantRight and its partners have successfully phased out 38 percent of the plants on the original PlantRight list of most-problematic invasive garden plants. These “retired” plants were found in 1 percent or less of retail nurseries for three consecutive years, according to a rigorous survey PlantRight conducts each spring with assistance from UC Master Gardeners and volunteers across the state. As research reveals new and emerging invasive garden plants, PlantRight and its team of horticultural experts and plant scientists will continue to evaluate and update this annual list.
The 2014 list features 15 invasive garden plants and 50 noninvasive alternatives. New plants were:
- Analyzed using a 98 percent-accurate plant risk assessment tool (developed with plant scientists at University of Washington and University of California, Davis)
- Available in 3 percent or more of retail nurseries surveyed; and
- A known invasive or at high risk for becoming invasive in California’s open spaces
“This is a really big step forward for PlantRight and for California, especially with regard to the addition of Mexican feather grass,” says Pamela Berstler, president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers – California Chapter. “Mexican feather grass has been scrutinized for several years because of its aggressive re-seeding behavior near and far from its original garden. Left unchecked, it has serious potential to become the next invasive problem. PlantRight helps landscape professionals and our clients play a proactive role in stopping the further spread of invasive plants.”
PlantRight’s new list means good news for retailers whose customers care about greening their lifestyle with greener gardens. “PlantRight’s list is one more way to demonstrate, ‘We Care!’ It’s important to our customers and our staff,” says Dave Stoner, president of San Francisco Bay Area’s Sloat Garden Centers.
In California, $85 million is spent each year attempting to slow the spread of invasive plants, which contribute to wildlife loss, increased wildfire risk, reduced land values, lost agricultural yields and degraded recreational opportunities. According to the California Invasive Plant Council, nearly 50 percent of the state’s invasive plants were introduced via the horticultural trade.
To view PlantRight’s 2014 list or learn more, visit the PlantRight website.