Invasive species for PNW green industry professionals

This week, I am presenting at the High Desert Green Industry Conference and at Sunriver Resort on invasives. At these events I’m focusing on how green industry professionals (landscapers, designers, installation contractors, maintenance contractors) can integrate an understanding of invasive species into their work.

The green industry is often in an awkward position with regards to invasive species. They are often tagged with the primary responsibility for new invasive introductions. At the same time, it is the gardening public who create demand for new and exciting introductions or for bringing invasives into new environments though their activities in and outside of the garden. Often, once a horticultural plant is deemed invasive, the industry feels itself under siege as regulators demand the industry give up a plant. Additionally, interest groups and the general pubic may then demand that the industry toe the line, and convert to new non-invasive stock such as natives–even where natives may not be entirely appropriate (such as in highly urbanized settings).  All of this leaves an industry that should be a part of the solution  feeling divorced from the efforts to “do the right thing” with regards to invaders.

But there are some easy solutions.  My take-home messages for green industry professionals includes some simple–but not mutually exclusive–actions:

  • Know the invasive species in your area & teach the public and your peers about them
  • Research new stock before you order it
  • Grow, sell or design for native & non-invasive plants wherever possible
  • Help the public with information on treatment
  • Get involved in landscape management ordinances where appropriate
  • Get involved in weed management boards
  • Help support local weed identification and education efforts
  • Help support research focused on invasive plant ecology, control and alternatives
  • Watch for hitchhikers in nursery stock
  • Use weed-free soil and mulch
  • Watch introductions for aggressive behavior
  • Discourage use of commercial wildflower or other mixes.
  • Check clothes, vehicles, equipment, & pets when working in infested areas.

Here are some of the resources I presented to the participants in these events:

Below are other resources that I compiled for professionals and gardeners alike:

Lastly but not least, are some published guides to Pacific Northwest and regional invaders as well as their more environmentally friendly alternatives:

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