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                                                                  H          Smart

Targeted Invasive Plant Solutions

    Beautiful in Your Garden,
    But Be Aware
    Often mistaken for wildflowers, invasive plants
    are spreading through our natural ecosystems,
    urban landscapes, and agricultural lands at an
    alarming rate. Invasive plants are often quite
    striking and attractive, but their beauty can be
    deceptive. Invasive plants spread through several
    horticultural pathways of invasion including land-
    and waterscaping, gardening, and wildflower
    seed mixtures. Gardeners, landscapers, retailers,
                                                                   BC Landscape & Nursery Association, Landscape Awards of Excellence 2008
    nurseries, and others have the ability to prevent the
    establishment of invasive plants by making informed
    choices when selecting, trading or purchasing

                                                                                                                                               Garden Smart
    horticulture plants and seeds.
                                                                  Do You Know What
    The objectives of this publication are to:
                                                                  You Grow?
    1.   Prevent the establishment of new invasive plants         Horticulture and Invasive Plants
         in British Columbia.                                     BC’s wide range of climates creates some
    2.   Provide practical solutions for the management           of the best growing conditions in Canada,
         and disposal of existing infestations.                   allowing gardeners to grow a diversity of
    3.   Increase awareness of the negative ecological,           attractive and exotic trees, shrubs, and flowers.
         social, and economic impacts of invasive plants.         This combined with a growing horticulture
    4.   Encourage responsible or “Garden Smart”                  industry has resulted in an increased number of
         practices.                                               introductions of exotic ornamentals.

    The term invasive plant, as used hereafter, includes          Sometimes these striking ornamentals escape
    provincially listed invasive plants and noxious weeds, as     cultivation and spread quickly, forming dense
    well as other alien plant species that have the potential     patches, thereby displacing native species
    to pose undesirable impacts on people, the economy,           and disrupting natural ecological processes.
    or the environment.
                                                                  Invasive plant parts and seeds can be
                                                                  introduced and spread:
    Impacts of Invasive Plants                                    1. Intentionally as an ornamental or food plant;
                                                                  2. Unintentionally as a by-product of disposal,
    Through competition for water, nutrients, and space,               primarily by garden waste dumping; and
    invasive plants displace desirable vegetation and can         3. Naturally by birds, wildlife, livestock,
    disrupt natural ecosystem functions. Lacking natural               vehicles, railway cars, and wind.
    pathogens or predators, invasive plants can negatively
    affect soil productivity, water quality, aquatic habitats,    Mechanisms to enforce legislation that
    stream bank stability, biodiversity, range resources,         addresses horticulture and invasive plants
    wildlife habitat, species at risk, wildfire frequency and     in BC needs improvement. In response,
    intensity, culturally important plants, human health,         there is a growing network of partnerships
    public infrastructure, recreation, and landscape              and collaborations between the horticulture
    aesthetics. Invasive plants cause estimated crop losses       industry, provincial and local government,
    of over $50 million annually in BC (Ministry of Agriculture   retailers, regional invasive plant committees,
    and Lands), and are the second greatest threat to             gardeners, and other concerned individuals to
    biodiversity after habitat loss (International Union for      address unwanted horticultural plants and stop
    the Conservation of Nature).                                  their spread. Such partnerships have lead to the                                                                                                                March 2009
2        T.I.P.S.

                               Purple Loosestrife   PLANT         Garden Astilbe      PLANT              Anise Hyssop   PLANT         Cardinal Flower
                              (Lythrum salicaria)   INSTEAD:   (Astilbe x arendsii)   INSTEAD: (Agastache foeniculum)   INSTEAD:   (Lobelia cardinalis)

                                        L. Scott                    C. Matheson                         C. Matheson                          C. Lewis

                    development of these “Garden Smart” Targeted Invasive Plant Solutions or T.I.P.S., and a
                    “Grow Me Instead” booklet, which illustrates the top “unwanted” invasive plants in horticulture
                    along with suggested non-invasive native or ornamental plant alternatives

                    Make Informed Choices — be “Garden Smart”
                    Everyone loves beautiful plants, and making informed choices for your garden or landscape project
                    can help safeguard BC’s environment and economy for future generations from the impacts of
                    invasive plants. Before you plant a new species in your garden, ask yourself:
                    1. “Will the plant be invasive outside my garden?” Many plant traits that are desirable to gardeners—such
                        as easy germination and establishment, tolerance to drought and frost, rapid growth and abundant seed
                        production—enable a plant species to become invasive.
                    2. “If I order a plant from outside BC, could it be invasive in my environment?” It is possible, although there
                        may be a lag phase before a plant becomes invasive.
    Garden Smart

                    3. “What do I need to know from my local nursery or garden centre?” Find out if a plant is a “fast spreader” or
                        a “vigorous self-seeder” in your planting zone. If so, these are warning signs that the species may be invasive.
                    4. “Is there an alternate plant I can use instead of one with the potential to become invasive?” Check the
                        availability of alternative, non-invasive plants suitable for your area.

                    Choosing Wildflower Seed Mixtures
                    Many wildflower seed mixes, including those marketed as ‘backyard biodiversity’ and ‘meadow
                    mix,’ contain invasive plant seeds. A study in 2002 by the University of Washington discovered
                    that out of 19 packets of wildflowers mixtures, each contained three to 13 invasive plants. A third
                    of the packets did not list any contents, and only five correctly itemized contents. Refer to the
                    Invasive Plant Council of BC’s Seed Mixture T.I.P.S. to learn more about selecting appropriate,
                    non-invasive seed mixtures (

                    Prevention is the most important and cost-effective invasive plant management strategy, but often the
                    least used. It is critical to prevent invasive plants from spreading and becoming established in new areas.
                    Horticulture is a key pathway of invasion of new invasive plants into BC and Canada; therefore, T.I.P.S.
                    provided for being Garden Smart are focused on PREVENTION. Overall, knowing what you are growing and
                    selecting the right plant for the right place are the most effective actions you can take.

                    Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
                    Since the goal of this document is to prevent the establishment of invasive plants through horticulture, other
                    invasive plant management options are not described. In the event that invasive plants are introduced,
                    Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles should be implemented. IPM is a decision-making process
                    that includes identification and inventory of invasive plant populations, assessment of the risks that they
                    pose, and development of well-informed control options that may include a number of methods, site
                    treatment, and monitoring.

                    Control methods vary with species, severity of the plant invasion, and site characteristics. Management
                    strategies will vary by invasive plant species, severity of the plant invasion, and site characteristics. Site-
                    specific mechanical, chemical, or biological control methods may be applied. For more information on
                    control methods, consult your regional invasive plant committee, refer to species- and activity-specific
                    T.I.P.S., or go online to To find a regional invasive plant committee near you, visit
           or call: 1-888-WEEDSBC.
                                                                                                                      Targeted Invasive Plant Solutions                                3

                                   Butterfly Bush         PLANT              Oceanspray      PLANT             California Lilac    PLANT      Red-Flowering Currant
                               (Buddleja davidii)         INSTEAD:   (Holodiscus discolor)   INSTEAD:   (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus)   INSTEAD:     (Ribes sanguineum)

                                   I & G. Carter                                 L. Scott                            A. Jarrett                       C. Matheson

T.I.P.S. for being Garden Smart
     ACTIVITY                              TARGETED INVASIVE PLANT SOLUTIONS
                                             These T.I.P.S. are always applicable:
                                             •   Learn about invasive plants in your area and select the right plant for the right place. Be
                                                 suspicious of exotic plants promoted as “fast spreaders” or “vigorous self-seeders,” as these are
                                                 often invasive plants.
                                             •   Before purchasing an exotic plant, check reliable sources: or
                                        or contact your local nursery or regional invasive plant committee.
                                             •   Check with your regional invasive plant committee coordinator to see if the plant is invasive in
                                                 your area or call 1-888-WEEDSBC.

                                             •   Request only non-invasive plants from your local nursery and gardening centre.

                                                                                                                                                                        Garden Smart
                                             •   Control established invasive plants using site and species appropriate methods. For example,
                                                 hand pulling, digging, cutting, and mowing.
                                             •   Deadhead (remove) flowers, seedpods, and berries of known invasive plants to prevent
                                                 reproduction through seeds and to reduce seed spread by birds, wildlife, pets, and people.
                                             •   Trade only non-invasive plants and seeds with other gardeners.
                                             •   Avoid picking plants from roadsides, gravel pits or other disturbed areas. Many of the prettiest
                                                 wildflowers growing along roadsides are aggressive invasive plants that should not be moved to
                                                 new areas.
                                             •   Help educate other gardeners in your area through personal contact. This could include
                                                 information sharing at gardening club activities, informing neighbours of invasive plants on their
                                                 property, online blogs or a simple call to a friend.

                                             •      Replace invasive plants with non-invasive exotic or native alternatives.
                                             •      Select non-invasive exotic and/or regional native plants for your garden. Native plants are
             Plant Selection

                                                    naturally adapted to the local environment.
                                             •      Request that local botanical gardens, nurseries, and gardening clubs promote, display or sell
                                                    non-invasive plants.
                                             •      Contact your local chapter of the North American Native Plant Society ( or
                                                    Seeds of Diversity ( for more information on native plant nurseries and seed
                                             •      Consult the Invasive Plant Council of BC’s Grow Me Instead booklet to learn more about
                                                    non-invasive alternatives to horticulture’s most unwanted plants.

                                             •      Dispose of invasive plant parts and seeds responsibly (i.e., bag and landfill or incinerate).

                                             •      Don’t “recycle” garden debris into a public park or natural area.
                                             •      Avoid composting many invasive plants, as they can quickly re-establish themselves.
                                             •      Contact your regional invasive plant committee to learn more about responsible disposal
                                                    techniques in your area.

                                             •      Use wildflower seed mixes with caution, as they may contain invasive plant seeds. Read
         Selecting Wildflower

                                                    the label to see what species are listed and check if they are desirable for your location by
                                                    contacting your regional invasive plant committee.
             Seed Mixes

                                             •      Read the label to see what species are listed and check if they are desirable for your location.
                                                    Check with your regional invasive plant committee to find out which species listed in the mixture
                                                    are invasive for your area.
                                             •      Be aware that in some cases not all of the plants contained within the mixture will be listed.
                                             •      Monitor seeded areas for invasive plants, and control seedlings immediately.
                                             •      Don’t collect ‘wildflower’ seeds from roadsides, gravel pits, or other disturbed areas.

                                                                                                                                                                      March 2009
               Legislation and Regulations                                      Provincial and Regional Coordination
                                                                                Invasive Plant Strategy for British Columbia:
               The Seeds Act defines seed as ‘any plant part of any species     invasive-plant-strategy.pdf
               belonging to the plant kingdom, represented, sold, or used to
               grow a plant’. Therefore, grain fed to animals (e.g. birdseed)   Species Identification and Management
               cannot be regulated under the Seeds Act and Regulations.         BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. 2002. Field
               The Seeds Act and Regulations are relevant to large-scale        Guide to Noxious and Other Selected Weeds of
               plantings, roadsides, landscaping, gardening, ornamentals,       British Columbia, 4th ed.
               land reclamation, soil conservation, green cover, wildlife       cropprot/weedguid/weedguid.htm
               grazing or habitat, wetland restoration, and other similar
               activities.                     BC Ministry of Forests and Range Invasive Alien
               The Plant Protection Act and Regulations aim to ‘prevent
               the importation, exportation, and spread of pests injurious      E-Flora BC, Electronic Atlas:
               to plants and to provide for their control and eradication
               and for the certification of plants and other things.’           Global Invasive Species Database:

               Provincial                                                       Invasive Plant Council of BC. Targeted Invasive Plant
               In BC, invasive plant management on all lands (Crown and         Solutions series:
               non-Crown) is regulated by the BC Weed Control Act, and
               the management of specific Crown lands is regulated by           Weeds BC (BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands):
               the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA), the Community
               Charter, and the Integrated Pest Management Act (IPMA).
               See the Legislative Guidebook for more information.              Provincial Inventory and Mapping Database
                       Invasive Alien Plant Program (IAPP):
               The FRPA requires forest and range managers to specify
               and implement measures that prevent the introduction or          Integrated Pest Management
               spread of the 42 invasive plants listed under the Invasive       BC Ministry of Environment Integrated Pest
Garden Smart

               Plants Regulation within their forest stewardship plans,         Management Program:
               woodlot licence plans, range use plans, and range                epdpa/ipmp/index.html
               stewardship plans.

               The WCA requires all land occupiers to control the               Partners
               spread of 48 provincial and/or regional noxious weeds            Funding for this project was provided in part by the Invasive
               on their land and premises, and specifies provisions for         Alien Species Partnership Program (IASPP), a Government of
               transportation, movement, and cleaning of machinery.             Canada initiative.
                                                                                Thank you to the Horticulture Advisory Committee, who
               The IPMA regulates herbicide applications that may be            advised the development of these Garden Smart T.I.P.S.:
               used to control invasive plant infestations.                     Becky Brown, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands; Hedy Dyck,
                          British Columbia Landscape and Nursery Association;
                                                                                Douglas Justice, University of British Columbia Botanical
               The Community Charter is enabling legislation that               Garden; Penny Koch, Master Gardeners Association of
               provides powers that municipalities may use for, among           BC; Colleen MacDonald, Sage Green Projects Inc; Tasha
               other things, invasive plant control. Authority for invasive     Murray, Greater Vancouver Invasive Plant Council;
               plant control is available under either weed control             Rod Nataros, NATS Nursery; Scott Pearce, Gardenworks;
               powers or broad powers for the protection of the natural         Paulus Vrijmoed, Linnaea Nurseries; and Pam Wesley,
               environment.        Coastal Invasive Plant Committee.

                                                                                                       PLACE YOUR STAMP HERE

               References and Links
               Invasive Plants in Horticulture
               Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team. (2007). Garry Oak
               Gardener’s Handbook. Retrieved 03 19, 2009, from Garry
               Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team:

               Invasive Plant Council of BC. (2007). Report 4: Minimizing
               the Impacts of Invasive Plants in Horticulture. Retrieved 03
               19, 2009, from Invasive Plant Council of BC:                                                                REPORT A WEED:
                                                                                CONTACT US:                          1-888-WEEDSBC
               The Nature Conservancy, et al. (2008). GardenSmart     
               Oregon: a guide to non-invasive plants. Retrieved 03 19,         Go to “Contact Us” link or call,
               2009, from The Nature Conservancy:                write or fax us at:

               Washington Invasive Species Coalition. (2006). Garden            #104 - 197 North 2nd Avenue
               Wise: Non-Invasive Plants for Your Garden. Retrieved 03 19,      Williams Lake, BC V2G 1Z5
               2009, from Washington Invasive Species Coalition:                Phone: (250) 392-1400
                                      Fax: (250) 305-1004

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