Trade body’s gardening tips for Invasive Species Week

This week the Property Care Association is proudly supporting ‘Invasive Species Week‘ (a joint initiative, led by the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat NNSS) with an appeal to gardeners and householders to play their part in stemming non-native weeds.

Help reduce the spread of non-native plants

Our very own Technical Manager, Dr Peter Fitzsimons, for all things associated with invasive plants, has produced a top 5 tips to get the message across about the range of non-native plants in the UK and offering ways to help tackle their spread.

Top 5 gardening tips for managing invasive plants

1. Know your plants. Many plants available in garden centres and nurseries are listed as ‘Invasive Species’ under Schedule 9 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This does not make it illegal to have them in your garden but it does mean you should prevent them from spreading to ‘the wild’. It includes commonly found plants like Montbretia and Japanese Rose.

2. Plant wisely. Many of today’s invasive species, including some bamboos and Giant Rhubarb, are garden ornamentals ‘gone wild’ so, a bit of research before choosing what to plant and where to plant it is a good idea. For example, a ‘running’ bamboo species should only be planted well away from a neighbouring property and, preferably, in raised beds with a robust root barrier or large containers on hard standings to stop it going where it is not wanted.

3. Manage what you plant. Some popular plants spread rapidly via underground rhizomes or bulbils. Once they are planted you will need to keep them in check to stop them ‘taking over’ plus you need to make sure they do not spread to your neighbour’s garden. In the case of Japanese Knotweed there is separate legislation relating to the potential nuisance which may be caused by ‘escaping’ plants and this has resulted in prosecutions.

4. Check your soil after digging. When you are digging-over flower beds containing invasive plants like Variegated Yellow Archangel or Few-flowered Leek do not put the soil in your green bin or compost heap until you have carefully removed the propagules (the parts of plants which give rise to new plants) otherwise you could be unwittingly spreading a regulated invasive species.

5. Be water aware. Some of the greatest ‘invasive’ problems are caused by the spread of aquatic plants in the wild. Once established in rivers and canals they are very difficult to control or remove. If you have a pond you may have species like Curly Waterweed or New Zealand Pygmyweed as these are often bought as fast-growing ‘oxygenators.’

The PCA offers a wide-range of information to help illustrate these tips and offer more insight on the issue. To find out more, visit our invasive weeds web page

Non-native plants are a common sight in our gardens

At the PCA, our Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG) is at the front line in combating invasive weeds in the UK and Ireland and its members recognise that prevention is a whole lot better than the large-scale effort needed to keep non-native plants under control. As with a lot of things in life, management is key to controlling their spread and householders, gardeners and other horticulturists can make a valuable contribution towards this.

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