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Flood gates about to open?

An analysis of Australian policy
"Screening for Invasive Species Could Save U.S. Billions"
By: Union of Concerned Scientists
Published: Dec 19, 2006 at 07:18

A new study shows that screening for potentially harmful foreign plant
species before they are imported is more economically beneficial than
fighting them after they take root in new areas. Because the United States
has no screening program for invasive species, the study focuses on
Australia and finds that their prevention efforts pay for themselves with
reduced economic damage in just over ten years and result in up to $1.8
billion in savings over 50 years.

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Equil~ now that's a real eye opener!

Long over due. Perhaps now we can begin moving forward.

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Equil~ just from my personal experience just a mere 6 1/2 months ago, I was buying invasives in sheer ignorance, didn't really consider the ecological impact of an escaped cultivar, and readily believed the nurseries and BB garden centers' claims about sterility or variants being "less invasive!" So.. I imagine there are probably many more gardeners, neophytes and experienced who could be just like me.

(sigh) you're not the only one who bought them in sheer ignorance. I did too. Personally, I'm more concerned with the invasive species that pose the greatest threats to public health. I suppose the pedulum was bound to swing all the way to other side before it could come back to rest some where in the middle again.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

This conversation reminds me of an email I sent about a week ago. Our local paper has the home and garden section in Saturday's paper and there's always a planter's almanac about what to plant and do this month. Well, it's written by the cooperative extension and they were recommending bauhinia (orchid tree). I work for the county and volunteer with the invasive species task force so when I went to work on Monday, I sent an email to the head of the invasive species task force as well as the extension agent who wrote the article. I told them I thought it was counterproductive for one county agency to recommend a plant that another county agency is trying to eliminate. The ISTF director heartily agreed with my "counterproductive" statement, but the extension agent gave me a line about how it's only one species of bauhinia that's invasive and that consumers shouldn't be able to find that one at nurseries anyway. Sure... But my thought was, why not recommend a native flowering tree instead? I bought a loblolly bay this year and I love it! It's like camellias on a tree, and it's native! There are so many better choices out there, I just didn't understand why they would pick bauhinia.

I long ago learned that there are some extremely progressive extension offices and then there are some that aren't so progressive. How are people supposed to know the difference?

I work for the county and volunteer with the invasive species task force
Thank you for sharing your time and talent. Every hour you spend out there counts more than others may ever realize.

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Mellie~ I agree, your efforts are appreciated! After all, how can a neophyte like me learn the differences between an invasive and a native inspite of the false information that abounds from some of the nurseries, the BBs and gardening centers. ;0)

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

Back when I didn't do almost exclusively natives, I didn't buy any plant automatically. I'd come home and look it up in a Perennial Book by Rodales that I have. Now, even if I know it to be a native plant, I still come home and do research, possibly even asking here at DG. The native nurseries, to me anyway, are all anywhere from 1 3/4 to over 2 hours away. I research which plants I might like and make a list. I've also taken along a book on native species, taken along a printed out list of native species for my county etc. Way back when I first started gardening and there was no internet, then I went by what the nurseries said or what a friend said. Now with the internet, it makes it a lot easier for me to research the plants I'm interested in. I've been pretty lucky and only planted one plant that was invasive. I found out shortly after buying it and the nursery took it back.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks everybody! I guess what really bothered me most is that people trust what they read in the paper, especially if it's from an official government source. We have a lot of transplanted northerners down here who often don't know what will grow in the Florida heat and so they turn to places like the cooperative extension for help. It just seems like a real wasted opportunity not to share better information with them.

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

mellie, you're absolutely correct. It is a wasted opportunity. One that a lot of us that fight invasives will never understand. Now (she says grinning) don't go lumping all us Northerners in to being the ones that bring in invasives. I think if you read some of the threads at various other places here on DG, you'll find some people in all states will plant what they want,regardless of documentation that they shouldn't :o)

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

Very true Terry! It's just after the northerners plant all their "usual suspects" in the first year and watch them die - they then decide to try more Florida friendly plants. You would think that would mean mostly native, but with the weather we have here that often includes invasives. It just doesn't get cold enough to kill anything so I have to dig it up myself. A few years ago I asked Dad if I could clean up the the mess in part of our backyard and turn it into something. We have a huge palmetto and several small oak trees but they were mixed with Brazilian pepper trees and all of it was covered in skunk vine and potato vine. It's near the road and the power line supports come right down in the middle so you know the skunk vine had traveled up it about twenty feet. Cleaning all that out was quite a job - when I went to the dump to dispose of it we had about 3000 pounds! Now it's turned into my bromeliad garden! I even have a few native, endangered Tillandsias attached to the oak trees. Sometimes it seems futile when you're only one person battling these things, but that 3000 pounds of invasive vegetation I cleared out made me feel like I was making a difference. Gotta give Dad some credit, too - he used his truck to pull out the Brazilian pepper stumps and took me to the dump.

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

mellie, I wish it meant mostly native plants no matter where you live, but I'm not Queen, so it's not going to happen :)

Just kidding. There are many well behaved exotic plants that I don't have a problem with (in other people's yards). It's the plants that are invasive to certain regions and people can't find those plants, so they mail order them in or ask for seed etc. etc.

Good for you for helping your dad clean up the mess! I'm doing the same thing at my parents house. It sure isn't fun. It's a lot of back breaking work and it seems like we'll never be done. I say that, because my parents only own some of the timber, they don't own it all. So although we're clearing their land of invasives, others aren't. The people who live in front of them believe that shrub jap honeysuckle is beneficial to wildlife. And besides that, it's soo perty! sigh.

I found out around here, if you take your yard waste to the dump (or have the town pick it up), that it doesn't go anywhere but in a big pile that they then grind up into mulch. Who gets the mulch? I don't wanna we burn it. I pulled up privet from here and took them out to my parents house and burned them. Can't do that in town, but you can outside of town!

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