• Jen Haynes

What is an invasive plant?


The Boundary is a beautiful place full of diverse landscapes. Whether you own property or are renting, we all have a responsibility to minimize the spread of invasive plants. Many invasive plants are ornamentals that were purchased without the knowledge that they were going to become a problem. They were planted in people’s yards and then escaped! The fact that you can still buy invasive species is a whole other conversation. For now, we will focus on what an invasive plant is. An invasive plant is a plant that causes economic or ecological harm in an environment where it is not native. It usually comes from another country but as Canada is so big there are plants from the East coast that could become invasive here in B.C. Invasive plants spread quickly so anything that is sold as a vigorous self seeder or fast spreader could be a problem. Invasive plants come here without their natural insect predators and plant pathogens that would otherwise keep them under control. Our native plants’ insect predators and pathogens will not work on plants from far away. While a weed is a plant growing someplace you don’t want it to, an invasive plant is different. Invasive plants can change an ecosystem. They affect native pollinators, birds, and animals. Some invasive plants are not palatable to some animals so those animals may have to go elsewhere for food. Certain types of butterflies need a specific type of plant to reproduce. If an invasive plant takes over and the native plants all disappear, then the butterflies will have to go somewhere else to try and find a plant to reproduce on. If they can’t find one, they may die without reproducing. A healthy ecosystem needs biodiversity. Mono-cultures like lawns with only grass are not bio diverse. Some invasive plants to watch for in the Boundary are hoary alyssum, common bugloss, common tansy, knotweed, baby’s breath, blueweed and longspine sandbur. Some invasive plants are so bad that they have been designated at noxious. There are two designations of noxious. There is provincial noxious and regional noxious. The B.C. Weed Control Act and Regulations are where these designations are found. https://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/66_85 What it means if a plant is designated as noxious is it is the legal responsibility of the landowner or manager to control it. You must stop it from spreading. Whether that is by mechanical, biological or herbicide treatment is up to you. You cannot do nothing. The Weed Control Act does not prohibit the sale of invasive plants. The Weed Control Act states: “In accordance with the regulations, an occupier must control noxious weeds growing or located on land and premises, and on any other property located on land and premises, occupied by that person.” So, whether you own or rent property you are responsible to take care of it. Stay tuned for information on how to control invasive plants. For more information you can contact the Boundary Invasive Species Society at 250-446-2232, info@boundaryinvasives.com, Facebook and www.boundaryinvasives.com.