Prior to the European settlement, plants native to Southern Ontario have existed in this region for thousands of years. The multitude of diverse plants that were indigenous to this region evolved as a group in conjunction with the local habitat of wildlife in the region. Together, they adapted to the local climate and soil conditions; thereby, creating a stable natural community that we currently call a balanced eco-system.
In contrast, the introduction of invasive plants originated from outside this particular region and resulted in a counterbalance to an established eco-balance. These non-native plants have the potential to root and reproduce quickly, causing a disruption of the native plants by crowding them out of their long-established habitat. This disruption results in fewer native plants which in turn creates a decreased biodiversity. Invasive plants have common characteristics such as:
• High annual seed production and quick establishment of dense colonies
• Tolerance to a wide range of growing conditions
• Ability to spread by underground roots and re-grow quickly when disturbed by pulling, cutting or fire
• A lack of natural predators to keep their population under control in their new environment
The Ripple Effect:
The imbalance created by invasive plants has a ripple effect because it means less food and shelter for wildlife that are dependent on plants that have been long established to the region. It affects and threatens the entire eco-system in addition to having an impact on the economic, ecological and social implications for the province.
Invasive plants can be represented by a tree, shrub or herbaceous plant and often introduced or spread by infested packaging material, seed dispersal by both environmental and human sources or by escaping from gardens. A herbaceous is a plant that leaves and stems die down annually, but whose roots survive. They can be annuals, biennials, or perennials. However, not all outside plant introductions are considered invasive. Take for example the pesky dandelion. Although this outsider is common to the region and regarded more of nuisance than anything else, it doesn’t pose a significant threat to native plants or their ecosystems. Like the annoying but harmless dandelion, many common garden plants are benign in nature and do not pose a displacement. They do not aggressively force out native vegetation.
To learn how to properly identify, manage and remove invasive plants on your property, you can contact:
- Ontario Invasive Plant Council, www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca
- Stewardship Councils c/o Ontario Ministry of Natural
- Resources, www.mnr.gov.on.ca
- Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, www.ofah.org
- The Invading Species Hotline, 1-800-563-7711
- Conservation Authorities, www.conservation-ontario.on
Invasive Plant Prevention:
You can reduce or eliminate the threat of invasive plants by selecting native plants for your garden from reputable suppliers. Native plants will provide, not only beauty to your surroundings, they will benefit the insects and wildlife. You should also remember to dispose of yard waste at the depots provided to residents in their local municipality or even in your backyard composter. Yard waste should never be disposed of in any natural environments because they may contain invasive plant seeds.
Whenever you go walking or hiking in natural areas in your community or anywhere in the province, you should remain on designated trails. Your pets should be kept on a leash to avoid disturbing natural vegetation so that invasive seeds are not transferred to another area or back to your property. If you’ve been biking through nature trails, always wipe down you bike and brush down your clothes and boots to avoid accidentally spreading seeds. Finally, talk to people about this problem so that they become aware and help to prevent the spread of invasive plants that cause such havoc to our region, its economy and the finely tuned ecosystem that has been around for thousands of years.
From all of us here at Evergreen Landscapes we thank you for taking the time to read this blog and for taking action against the spread of invasive plant species in Southern Ontario. If you’re looking for a lawn maintenance company that takes action against invasive plant species then Contact Evergreen Landscapes.