As you plan this year’s garden, give a thought to some species you should NOT plant. Some of the most serious invasives in our region might surprise you: they include miscanthus grass, wintercreeper, Norway maple, English ivy, kousa dogwood, Japanese barberry, burning bush, privet, porcelainberry, and Japanese honeysuckle. In 2014, New York State passed legislation forbidding the sale of certain invasive plants. The law takes effect in March and will go a long way toward getting many of the most serious problem plants off the market. You can see the complete list here. (Of course, the law can’t control plants already in the ground, which will continue to spread, or plants sold in neighboring states, such as New Jersey, which don’t regulate invasive plants, or mail orders).
Two groups in New Jersey are working hard to contain the spread of invasive plants. The NJ Invasive Species Strike Team (NJISST) is a statewide effort to identify and control new outbreaks of invasive plants. Take a look at their list of NJ invasive plants here. The Invasive Strike Force, a part of the NY-NJ Trail Conference, monitors and controls invasives along over 1,000 miles of hiking trails. Both groups do great work, mostly through the efforts of volunteers. If you’re concerned about the degradation of our environment by invasive plants, consider volunteering some time this coming year.