Do The Wacky Environmentalists Have A Point?

Mar 8, 2013 by

An environmental group have requested that the government ban the sale of some plants they consider to be invasive and a threat to our native wildlife. These plants include:

 

Common Rhododendron

 

One of the plants on the list is the Common Rhododendron (R. ponticum). Green all year round with flowers in the spring adding a splash of colour to the garden just when you need it; Rhododendrons really do have the wow factor. When I was young I used to find that a large rhododendron made an excellent den, the large leaves create a perfect shelter and the inside can be large enough to stand up in, with comfortable dead leaves littering the floor and plenty of branches to sit on. However these very factors also make the Rhododendron a huge problem for British wildlife. The cover and habit of the plant means that nothing else can grow underneath, suffocating our native plants.

 

Canadian Waterweed

 

The Canadian Waterweed was introduced to the UK by accident in the 19th century. I am surprised to see this plant on the list as it is now considered to be naturalised by many and although it can cause problems to our native wildlife, it is seen as preferable to some other invasive aquatic species. It is a plant I am familiar with as it is currently floating around in our fish tank. However, it can form dense stands in our waterways, preventing our native habitats from thriving.

As an enthusiastic gardener I really enjoy and benefit from the huge range of plants at my disposal, thanks to the early plant hunters and the literally hundreds of plants that have been introduced into the UK. However, on balance I believe it is in everyone’s best interest if we prevent the sale and spread of some of the more invasive species, I can easily find an alternative for my fish tank! Indeed I am horrified by the continued sale of some of the plants on the list including Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and the Common Rhododendron. I have witnessed the damage these three plants can do and have done in different parts of the UK. These last three are particularly hard to eradicate and if you do find them on your property and if you need assistance with these, or advice about any invasive species it’s good to know that there are experts on hand who have lots of experience eradicating these pests.

Nicola Sampson is a horticulturalist and wildlife enthusiast, she volunteers at a local community allotment and tries to garden with wildlife in mind. She’s previously used www.jknotweed.com to deal with invasive plant species.