As globalization increased so did the increase of foreign plant species. While this brought us many desirable plants such as many species of Hydrangeas and Rhododendrons it also brought plants that have invaded our wild areas and our gardens.
Foreign Plant Species to Watch for
According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, “an invasive species is a non-native or alien species that threatens the health and biodiversity of the natural and agricultural systems in an area being considered.” Invasive species are not limited to plants, and there are many insect and animal species that are invasive, but we will limit our discussion here to invasive plant species.
When a plant is invasive it does not necessarily mean that if planted it will take over your garden (although some will), and in fact you might never notice its destruction, but your neighbor might or your community park or even your favorite forested area. The forests around Loch Raven Reservoir are an excellent example of what can happen when these foreign invaders are left unchecked.
In 2016, Maryland began classifying invasive plants into two tiers. Tier 1 plants may NOT be sold within the state of Maryland, and Tier 2 plants may be sold but they must be accompanied by a sign that warns of their invasive characteristics. This tier system has outlawed the sale of many commonly used plants such as Euonymus fortune (wintercreeper) and Ficaria verna (lesser celandine). A full list of Tier 1 and Tier 2 plants can be found here.
There are several common and popular plants that are classified as Tier 2 invasive species. These include Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry), Nadina domestica (sacred bamboo), Pyrus calleryana (callery pear), and Euonymus alatus (burning bush). There are many alternatives to these foreign invaders that have similar characteristics for example, Euonymus alatus (burning bush) has been prized for its vibrant fall color, but blueberry bushes (Vaccinium corymbosum), smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum), and Sweetspire shrubs (Itea virginica) all have a similarly vibrant fall color and all of them are native to the Eastern United States.
There are many invasive species that have not yet been classified by the state of Maryland as invasive, but they should be avoided at all costs. These plants include Hedera helix (English Ivy), Phyllostachys ssp. (bamboo), and Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle).
F&M Contractors, Inc. Landscape Division is committed to slowing the spread of these invaders and will not plant any invasive species. We also strive to help remove foreign plant species in our area. Give us a call at 410-667-8900 or visit our website to schedule an appointment for an invasive species check of your property.