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Rocky Mountain Gardening: Invasive for the rest of the country still invasive here?

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MQN
Salt Lake City, UT
(Zone 6a)

August 15, 2006
11:16 PM

Post #2626057

I bought a horsetail plant (Equisetum arvense) to use to make tea for me and my plants, I have put it in my start up, container "pond". The tag it came with said that it could be slightly "invasive". Do the label makers REALLY know this (by the definition of: not native can endanger native habitats or do they mean an aggressive grower, can swallow up other plants).

I do not see how it could be invasive by the term I care about (the first one) I remember seeing it grow by the side of the road in Alberta near ditches. Like I said I have it as a pond plant I can not see how it could get out of control here - the birds do not eat the seeds, it needs plenty of water- so I do not see where the "foul" is. Is there something I am not getting about "invasive" or does the term get used improperly to often? NWF is urging me to become a backyard wildlife friendly certified member and I can not in good conscience to it knowing that I have burning bush in my front yard and who knows what else...but again is what's invasive for the rest of the country apply to our conditions - I know birds & wind can spread seed but say I cann't live with some outdoor plant and I am conscience of dead heading it...you all know rationalizing when you hear it...

I love this little plant it but it really seems to attract snails, so I go out in the morning for snail patrol followed by some tap dancing...his fate is in your hands. No worries though cause if he is invasive he will just go under house arrest...
jio1
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7a)

August 15, 2006
11:22 PM

Post #2626071

When I'm in doubt about this (and it's happened to me more than once, sigh), I call the County Extension Office -- they know sooooo many things and are so helpful -- jo
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

August 16, 2006
5:11 AM

Post #2627654

MQN I have had an equisetum plant in my sophie bed for over 5 years and it has done nothing. Please note it is not in any moist area. I have been concious of the invasive nature of these plants elsewhere and I have not experienced it in my garden.
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

August 16, 2006
4:12 PM

Post #2628655

I have seen this plant growing wild in New Mexico, but it never leaves the bogs, here. Do you have wet places where it could multiply?
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

August 16, 2006
4:27 PM

Post #2628694

Not from my plant there isn't. Water sure 1/2 mile away. Its invasivness is via tubers. Soil too dry to send them.
ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

August 16, 2006
4:30 PM

Post #2628703

Mother Quick Narrows,
I've seen it creep out of wet places into dry ones. It could conceivably be a menace in a garden setting. (but Roundup/24D cocktail will kill it in one application) The question is, is it native?
I agree with Jo, the extension should know what they are doing.

Everyone tells you about english ivy taking over the world. Native forest have been burdened by great pillows of it eating trees. But here, there is not enough rainfall to germinate, let alone establish, bird-borne seed. This is rationalization plus a bucket of scientific fact- I collect Hederas!
Kenton
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

August 16, 2006
4:33 PM

Post #2628710

How could something (not Native) that won't barely grow without lots of irrigation spred to my garden when it has been setting there for over 5 years and hardly visible. The forget me nots are bigger and happier than the equisetum.
ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

August 16, 2006
4:51 PM

Post #2628772

There are different conditions that encourage growth. (and species, I think. arvense and vulgaris?) You are pretty cold up there. I have heard about somewhere in Denver I think that had a heck of an equisetum battle.
BloomsWithaView
Moab, UT
(Zone 6b)

August 16, 2006
6:39 PM

Post #2629086

Well, some form of horsetail or other is native in certain very wet spots in my desert area of Utah. So it could be a native. Salt Lake City is hardly the environ that would allow for it to creep about in its rhizome method.

I'm saying enjoy. The chances it will run away are danged slim. The new practice of labeling things invasive is a COA type thing on the growers part. And in Moab, it means the plant has a *small* chance of surviving.

Nothing likes full sun in Moab. and there are no moist soil areas in my neighborhood. LOL
MQN
Salt Lake City, UT
(Zone 6a)

August 16, 2006
7:22 PM

Post #2629195

Jio1 Extension agent eh? thanks, you guys always come through. I plan on bringing it in overwinter, one day I hope to have a mini pond for it to live in year round.

Steve I did not see it in your Sophie bed will have to go back and look again. You place looks very well cared for. How long have you been there?

Pajaritomt - I do not have it planted in the ground. BloomsWithaView points out it spreads by rhizome action and not so much seed action so apparently its not a prob.

Kenton where to you get your Musella lasiocarpa? And if plant_madness shows up or if any one else knows...where's a good place to buy a Musa sumatrana 'Rojo. The addicition continues...

ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

August 18, 2006
7:06 PM

Post #2635728

Brent and Becky's Bulbs, by all means. They have some excellent TC plants for cheap! You'll just have to wait until next spring, I'm afraid. When they had their 50% sale early this summer, I went a little nuts on the musas...
http://www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com/summer/search/listgenus.php?id=115
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

August 19, 2006
4:42 PM

Post #2638297

MQN the equisetum is to the left of the heart shaped waterfall rock in the mid ground. The forget-me-nots cover them and keep them from clumping and getting tall. The sophie bed is now over 6 years and the equisetum was planted then. I have a pond there but the only extra moisture in the soil comes from blow off the water fall. The soil around the pond is rich in peat though to make the moist conditions of the plant. I am up in AK so can't show you a picture.
picante
Helena, MT
(Zone 4b)

May 17, 2007
12:14 AM

Post #3505234

Here's what they might mean by invasive: Our friends in Bellingham, WA told us that horsetail was so invasive, it grew up THROUGH THE FLOOR of a house belonging to someone they knew.

Sofer makes a good point about water supply, and SLC's climate is far removed from conditions on the coast of Washington!
Katye
Sammamish, WA
(Zone 7b)

May 17, 2007
1:07 AM

Post #3505446

I am east of Seattle - it is invasive here, and my understanding is that it is not affected by Roundup.
I thought that when a plant is deemed invasive, it is due to its being in an environment conducive to rampant reproduction, at the expense of other plants in same environment - native or not. This would be the reason why some plants are invasive in certain areas, but not others. Or, am I missing something?
Photographer
Moxee, WA
(Zone 4a)

May 17, 2007
2:00 AM

Post #3505600

Picante, That must have been some doozy of a house up there in Bellingham for grass to have come up through the flooring. We have a 6 inch cement floor here. Nothing grows up through our ground floor (1600 sq ft). Cement has a way of stopping most everything in its tracks. It makes for a great air conditioner to battle the summer heat waves. Cement takes a bit of getting used since it is harder than a carpet or wood flooring but the tile flooring is so darn clean ... all the time (we have an electric vacuum scrubbing mop). Kelly
picante
Helena, MT
(Zone 4b)

May 17, 2007
2:37 AM

Post #3505713

Well, I don't know the details, but it can't have had a cement floor! The horsetail I saw in Bellingham didn't exactly look like a grass, either. The stems were up to a 1/2" thick. They said the same thing about Roundup having no effect.
greenjay
Centennial, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 17, 2007
4:16 AM

Post #3506136

Something to consider, regarding notions of "invasive" vs "native":

http://plant-quest.blogspot.com/2007/05/gardeners-are-not-bad-guys.html
Florae
Lolo, MT
(Zone 4b)

May 17, 2007
2:55 PM

Post #3507123

Before moving to Montana, I lived and gardened in Ocean Shores, WA. The back of our lot bordered a wetlands. There was no way I could ever get rid of horsetail. Don't know if it's true, but I heard the roots would go as deep at 15 feet.

Mowing worked in grass. In the garden beds about the only way I found to control it was to cut the growth at the base without pulling or digging.

I've seen it offered at some of the nurseries here in Montana.. mainly among the pond plants. Even though it's semi-arid here, I cringe and run the other way when I see it.. LOL.
ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

May 22, 2007
9:45 AM

Post #3522648

Incedentally, I just weeded some out of my garden today.
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

May 22, 2007
8:32 PM

Post #3524414

My Equisetum have stayed in the same area for now 5 years and hardly survive. Please note I have no wetlands. They only get irrigation and stay well behaved. I know I am asking for trouble but none yet.
MQN
Salt Lake City, UT
(Zone 6a)

May 22, 2007
9:49 PM

Post #3524616

One of the best ways to get rid of an unwanted is to find a use for it..for example the Chinese made a delicacy out of rats -helped with population control...so on that note...Kenton do you ever make tea out of it? The natual silica in horsetail is good for you and your plants...I have so little only me and the house plants ever get any. And I know you are regular tea totaler...
ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

May 23, 2007
5:57 PM

Post #3527726

It's Camellia sinensis all the way for me, I'm afraid. I can't manage to grow those at all, naturally... I get my silica consuption in excess anyhow, thanks.
greenjay
Centennial, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 23, 2007
11:19 PM

Post #3528751

violin makers use it for sandpaper -- you could market it!
ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

May 24, 2007
9:47 AM

Post #3529969

Hey, clever dick. Now find an economic use for bindweed, please.
greenjay
Centennial, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 25, 2007
2:47 AM

Post #3533064

dental floss?

picante
Helena, MT
(Zone 4b)

May 25, 2007
4:10 PM

Post #3534571

Hmmm. I always wondered why Zappa had to move to Montana to be a dental floss tycoon.
SLCSweetPea
Salt Lake City, UT
(Zone 6a)

May 25, 2007
9:59 PM

Post #3535751

Hello, I'm new to the site and was browsing the forums and found a lively discussion in the invasives thread cursing buddleia davidii as a terrible invader. I wondered as I read it if it is as invasive here as it apparently is in other parts of the country? Since I read it I have been paying attention to roadsides and empty lots and other places where I figure it would be coming up if it is, but haven't seen any (of course, this is not the time of year where it would be very obvious, is it?). Anyway, I am beseeching your common wisdom because I have planted two in my yard in the past couple of years and don't want to start a botanical epidemic in my neighborhood (some of the commenters in that thread REALLY hate it!). Thanks!!
greenjay
Centennial, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 25, 2007
11:12 PM

Post #3535972

I very SERIOUSLY doubt that butterfly bush would survive long, or very well, in the high desert without irrigation.
picante
Helena, MT
(Zone 4b)

May 26, 2007
12:44 AM

Post #3536293

We inherited a Buddleia when we bought our house. It only comes up every year because it's right next to an east wall, I'm sure. It's scrawny, but still pretty, and certainly an uncommon sight in Helena, MT! So can you get yours to grow nice and bushy, SLCSweetPea? You're 2 zones warmer than me.
roybird
Santa Fe, NM

May 26, 2007
2:19 AM

Post #3536727

I just got some horsetail. Couldn't resist it. So attractive in a primitive, boggy way! After reading all these stories I think I'll just put it in a pot. We don't really have enough moisture here in SantaFe (except this year so far) to grow water plants. I don't have a pond. Nor any buddleia either. My invasives are garlic chives and violets this spring.
SLCSweetPea
Salt Lake City, UT
(Zone 6a)

May 26, 2007
3:20 AM

Post #3536956

My butterfly bushes are growing nice and bushy, but they do pout when they don't get enough water. That's why I was pretty sure that it wasn't invasive around here. In fact, I have killed two others because they were in a dry corner of the garden that the water doesn't usually hit (I have to hand water anything I put there... that's why there is usually something new there every year :) ). One of them came from my mom's house, where my sister was a little overly enthusiastic with the pruning and was pretty sure she'd killed it. It struggled a bit last summer, but this year is doing nicely so far.
Photographer
Moxee, WA
(Zone 4a)

May 26, 2007
11:57 AM

Post #3537645

SLCSweetPea, You can be certain Butterfly Bush will perish in Utah without your help. They require far more water than what mother nature provide there naturally. I have 2 in my yard and they require all the water and protection from rabbits and to be mulched in winter and maybe even tarped. Kelly
kmom246
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

May 27, 2007
7:15 AM

Post #3540579

I have killed a few Buddleia here in the High Desert. The last one, nursed through 110*F summer and rabbits promptly died with an unusually harsh winter (even though it is supposed to be hardy, I suspect that since it was so stressed during the summer, that it was not ready for winter).
ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

May 28, 2007
6:36 AM

Post #3543997

Some invasives of other climates=survivors here.
I love brooms, (Cytisus, Genista) but a friend of mine will never bring herself to enjoy them, as she recalls killing them as California's version of Tamarisk.

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