A Greener Indiana

Everybody can do something to make a greener Indiana

The Invasive Plant Species Assessment Working Group of Indiana has released its downloadable pamphlet, Landscaping with Non-Invasive Plant Species: Making the Right Choice.

The 22-member group, formed in 2001, spent six years analyzing first-hand scientific reports on dozens of plant species, examining how invasive or potentially invasive they are in Indiana. They looked at how these widely available plants escape our landscapes to take root in natural areas, where they displace or overwhelm native species, disrupting the ecology for birds, butterflies and other critters.

The pamphlet helps us make smart choices for our landscape. Armed with this document, we also can ask nursery owners and garden center managers to reconsider the plants they stock.

The three most popular ground covers, such as English ivy (Hedera helix), myrtle (Vinca minor) and winter creeper (Euonymous fortunei), made the list of plants to use with caution. Popular shrubs, such as barberry (Berberis thunbergia) and privet (Ligustrum) made the list of "do not buy, sell or plant in Indiana." It also points out how we should not plant or cultivate bush honeysuckles (Lonicera maackii, L. tatarica, L. morrowii, L. x bella), which are everywhere. Do Mother Nature a big favor and pull out this shrub from your landscape.

This list is not the making of tree huggers. Several industry groups, including the Indiana Nursery & Landscape Association, the Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Indiana Seed Trade Association joined the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society, the Indiana Wildlife Federation, the Nature Conservancy, beekeepers and state and federal agencies to develop the list.

I wrote about this at the Hoosier Gardener, too.

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Comment by Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp on May 24, 2009 at 4:41pm
I think it's an education process. The fact that the Indiana Nursery & Landscape Association was part of this group gives me hope.
Comment by Ellen on May 24, 2009 at 10:29am
Good luck in trying to convince nuserys in eliminating any of the invasives on the list that are being sold, and will continue to be sold in the future.

As long as landscape contractors demand any of these plants for their customers such as the privets, barberries, english ivy, euonymous, myrtle ( all of which are hardy, quick spreading, totally maintenance free, and a huge money maker for the nursery business) nursery managers will not reconsider keeping these plants out of their stock, unless forced.

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