By Tammy Toor
For the last few years, May has been designated as Invasive Plants Awareness Month in the City of Nanaimo.
Some might question what the big deal is to have plants that are not native to this area growing and thriving. After all, some non-native plants are beautiful and add colour to local landscapes. Invasive plants like Scotch broom, English ivy, English holly, Daphne or Japanese knotwood, however, have few competitors and can quickly take over an ecosystem degrading the habitat for many native plants species.
Here are a few steps we can take to prevent these plants from overtaking Nanaimo’s natural areas:
- Be careful about what plants we choose for our gardens – nursery staff are very knowledgeable about the types of plants that are best for our climate and won’t disturb our ecosystem.
- Refrain from dumping garden trimmings in parks or other open spaces – this prevents trimmings from propagating in other areas.
- Observe parks for unfamiliar or foreign plants – if invasive plants are found early enough, they can be eradicated easier than when they are mature.
- Minimize disturbances to the environment – when soil is disturbed and vegetation is removed, ideal conditions are created for invasive plants.
The City of Nanaimo is organizing work parties in local parks where citizens and local stewardship groups come together to remove invasive plants while learning how to safely remove them from their own backyards.
“If we work together, we can make a difference in protecting our environment,” says Deb Beck, recreation coordinator.
Citizens are being asked to look around their own yards and gardens and remove invasive plants. They can be disposed of for free on May 31, noon to 4 p.m., at Bowen Park off of Wall Street.
For more information on identifying invasive plants or how to get involved in the organized work parties, please visit the City of Nanaimo’s website at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/invasives or call the city at 250-756-5200.
Tammy Toor is a communications specialist with Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Environment.