Three tips to avoid in­va­sive species in the gar­den

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - GREEN LIVING -

Is­lan­ders should plan and plant care­fully this year to avoid in­va­sive species from in­trud­ing into gar­dens.

That’s the word from the P.E.I. In­va­sive Species Coun­cil, which says a few ex­otic plants are in­tro­duced to wild habi­tats in the prov­ince each year.

Here are three tips from the coun­cil for plant­ing wild­flow­ers in your gar­dens:

1. It’s bet­ter to buy a few, in­di­vid­ual pack­ages of tried and true wild­flower species that do not spread out­side of gar­dens. Most seeds or plants ad­ver­tised as “wild­flow­ers” are not re­ally “wild” at all, but are ex­otic species that should not be grown in the wild, even when the in­ten­tion is to sup­port lo­cal bio­di­ver­sity is­sues. Res­i­dents, who must use wild­flower mixes, are en­cour­aged to try to use only those that have the con­tents stated on the pack­age. Hav­ing both com­mon and Latin names on the pack­age is the best way to make sure you know what you are plant­ing as com­mon names can of­ten be mis­lead­ing. Only plant wild­flower mixes you know do not con­tain in­va­sive species. Re­mem­ber that not all non-na­tive species are in­va­sive, but the few that are in­va­sive can cause sig­nif­i­cant en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age.

2. Plant wild­flower mixes in gar­dens and not in wild spa­ces. Each year in the spring, take care to en­sure that any new plants pop­ping up from last year’s seeds are grow­ing in­side the gar­den and not else­where on the prop­erty. Re­mem­ber that the wind and an­i­mals can carry some seeds far from beds, so stick­ing with non-in­va­sive plants is still im­por­tant even if you weed your yard.

3. If you do en­counter wild­flower seed pack­ages of un­known com­po­si­tion, ask for a list of the con­tents from the pro­ducer or re­tailer. If they don’t have that avail­able, and/ or can’t en­sure you the pack­age does not in­clude in­va­sive species — do not ac­cept it or buy it.

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