Three tips to avoid invasive species in the garden
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.