Ask a Question forum: Invasive plants

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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Mar 24, 2017 2:41 PM CST
If a plant is invasive somewhere, should it be avoided everywhere?
I live in Texas and see that a plant I'm interested in acquiring is considered invasive in another state, Should I then forget about getting that plant? Or does it make a difference if the state is not a neighboring state, like Idaho (for example - not picking on Idaho.)?

This is the start of plant sale season. I see many plants listed that I have to look up because I'm not familiar with them. When I do this, I often see one on the Invasive Plants list.

I can be more specific if need be. Thanks.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Mar 24, 2017 3:06 PM CST
My guess is that if the plant is invasive in an area with a similar climate it would also be a problem for you.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Mar 24, 2017 3:09 PM CST
It varies by state and specific plant. I tried to order cardoon seed, from 3 different company's, before i found a variety that could be shipped to California.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Mar 24, 2017 5:16 PM CST
I agree It depends upon the plant and the area. Also, some plants that people consider invasive can be controled with a bit of effort.

Some plants are considered invasive because they are replacing native plants. Two that come to mind are Chinese Tree of Heaven replacing native black walnuts without the benefits to wildlife. Don't even mention Spanish Bluebells to someone from the U.K. But if you confine your plants to your garden, I don't see a problem (easier said than done).

If I want a plant in my garden badly enough, I am willing to put up with some bad habits. And, a few times, I have had to rethink that and figure out how to get rid of it again (thinking about planting ivy and wood violets in the CA central valley Grumbling )

On the other hand, the bluebells were awesome
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Mar 24, 2017 6:24 PM CST
There's a lot of confusion and inaccuracy among lay users of the terms invasive. When a state/ feds lists a plant invasive, they are truly defining it as causing harm to the ecosystem or agriculture. Casual gardeners may say invasive when they mean 'aggressive grower, hard to contain".
SO for me, when something is listed 'invasive' I think it bears some thought before you foster it anywhere in a nearby or similar growing zone.
Plants can be listed invasive in a limited area, but in reality are growing invasively outside that area, just not officially registered. For example, kudzu is a well known invasive in southern US but now grows as far north as Maryland, Indiana and PA.
I am not sending the Plant Police your way, I have a few dirty secrets. And how much influence will your little garden have, in the grand scheme, on something truly invasive? It will get there on its own eventually, given half a chance. You'll have to find your own comfort with it, or reject invasives, as you see fit.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
[Last edited by sallyg - Mar 24, 2017 9:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Mar 24, 2017 7:04 PM CST
porkpal said:My guess is that if the plant is invasive in an area with a similar climate it would also be a problem for you.

Exactly. For example locally we have a problem with the invasive South African annual succulent M. nodiflorum, which (along with a related species) has a stranglehold on some sandy areas.

This plant has a lifestyle that would make it a total noncontender anywhere with cold winters. Here, thanks to our mild Mediterranean-ish climate, it sprouts in late fall or early winter (depending on the start of the rainy season), grows into a mat, and has gone to seed by summer. I think it's invasive in all kinds of different places around the Mediterranean with a climate like ours.

On the other hand, I bet our climate would be a non-starter for any kind of potentially invasive species that can't take 5 or 6 months of drought (zero rainfall in summer) on an annual basis. The selection is very strong for drought tolerance, at least in terms of what tends to invade coastal habitat here. The native succulents are very well adapted in that respect, but they grow at a tiny fraction of the speed of the South African ice plants, and tend to lose out if they go head to head.

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