Without natural pests and predators, some non-native species can grow and spread rapidly in our islands' warm climate. These species can invade the natural ecosystems on your property. They outcompete native plants for nutrients and water, sometimes changing the vegetative make-up of your land. We're even learning now that some invasive species can actually devalue your property.
What you can do
Garden with native species
Gardeners have long imported plants to different regions. Even with the best intentions of confining plants to gardens, some of these plants have a knack at escaping, climbing fences, burrowing under paths and sending seeds out on the winds to find a new space to grow.
Plants like English ivy, periwinkle and Lamiastrum have a shady history of sneaking from well-manicured gardens into our islands' environments, destroying the wild beauty we've come to love. Before you plant a new species in your garden, think about the effects that plant might have on the native plants outside your garden. Native plants are a beautiful gardening supplement to ornamental species, often helping reduce your water use and garden maintenance.
Stop the spread of invasive plants on your property
You can unknowingly carry invasive plant seeds and roots onto your property in gardening soil and fill, vehicle tires, shoes and pet paws. The most likely places you'll find invasive plant infestations starting on your land are roadsides, trails and utility corridors. Keep a close eye on these areas and stop infestations before they start.
You can give native species a helping hand by pulling or cutting invasive species on your land. Be careful to research best practices for the particular species you're dealing with; some species are poisonous to humans and some need special care when handling to avoid encouraging their spread. The Invasive Plant Council of BC or your local conservancy can give you great tips on how to tackle a particular species on your property. Here are a few of the most common tips:
- Wear protective clothing and gloves
- Take action in late fall to early January to avoid trampling sensitive native species
- Focus first on isolated patches to prevent further spreading. Then work on larger patches starting at the outside and working in to contain further infestations
- Avoid composting pulled or cut invasive species. Check with your regional district for information on how residents can dispose of invasive plant material
Common invasive species to watch for on your island property
For more information and helpful tips
Our staff is happy to help you learn more about invasive species on your land, and how you can help native species regain their footing in island ecosystems. Contact us
The following organizations and programs provide more detailed information about invasive species to watch for, and steps to removing them from your land.