The Ohio Department of Agriculture has established new rules that make it illegal to sell or distribute 38 destructive invasive species of plants. Many of the plants took root in the state when they were mistakenly imported to the region. Some of them are some types of honeysuckle, autumn olive shrubs, and Bradford pear trees. Some have spread aggressively after they became favorite sellers at commercial nurseries and garden centers.
The 38 invasive plants were identified as species that can spread aggressively, lower property values and outgrow native plant competitors . Not to mention attempts to contain them.
Some honeysuckle varieties that have invaded Ohio riverbanks and wooded areas shade out native species. They also harm birds because their seeds provide inferior nutritional content. Birds that nest in the honeysuckles are more vulnerable to nest predators.
The invasive plants are not as obvious as toxic green algae growing in Lake Erie, or even the Asian carp that also pose a threat to Ohio’s environment and economy. But invasive plants also present a real ecological hazard.
The council estimates that about 25,000 nonnative plant species cause more than $34 billion damage a year to the environment, business and industry, and recreation in the United States.
Preventing the sale of invasive species from commercial greenhouses and nurseries is a good step toward eliminating their threat. Even better are the efforts of many park systems, watershed stewards, and others who steadily work to remove invasive plants where they find them. The state is also assembling a five-person invasive plant advisory committee to review potential new additions to the no-sale list.
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