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Old 05-03-2010, 10:55 PM   #21
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I just realized that I may not have fully answered a couple of your questions.

I'll use the example of honeysuckle, because that's on my mind right now. Propose for instance that you could wage war against honeysuckle in your area. You could not be reasonably assumed to defeat it, but could make a very substantial impact on it, and by doing so substantially altering the area that had supported it. What happens next? Does another non-native just move in? If, in 1,000 years, the honeysuckle is still around in that area but no longer dominant, is it still invasive?

A plant is considered invasive by its growth habit. If you have honeysuckle and constantly keep it pruned back, it is not necessarily invasive, it can be, since that is its growth habit.

I fully respect the impact non-natives can have to a given area. I'm really trying to form some sort of idea of acceptable risk. I think it's foolish to expect that gardeners, or anyone with any sort of creative impulse, will restrict themselves to their environment to the extent of restricting their palette. I also agree fully that certain plants in certain environments cause unbelievable change.

The idea of considering your yard as a canvas and the plants that you put into it is what horticulture is. I have a book that gives me native alternatives to non-natives. If I am looking for something that has the general appearance of honeysuckle, there is a native that fits the bill. It is not an easy job by any means, but the rewards are greater with the increased effort.
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:07 PM   #22
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This is a good time to post the definitions used here:

Discussion of definitions used by Wildlife Gardeners

Native Plant
A plant that is a part of the balance of nature that has developed over hundreds or thousands of years in a particular region or ecosystem. Note: The word native should always be used with a geographic qualifier (that is, native to New England [for example]). Only plants found in this country before European settlement are considered to be native to the United States.
Invasive Plant
A plant that is both non-native and able to establish on many sites, grow quickly, and spread to the point of disrupting plant communities or ecosystems. Note: From the Presidential Executive Order 13112 (February 1999): 'An invasive species is defined as a species that is 1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and 2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.' In contrast to item 2) of the Executive Order, which includes plants invasive in agricultural settings, the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group lists non-native plants as invasive only if they invade minimally managed (natural) areas.
Non-Native Plant
A plant introduced with human help (intentionally or accidentally) to a new place or new type of habitat where it was not previously found. Note: Not all non-native plants are invasive. In fact, when many non-native plants are introduced to new places, they cannot reproduce or spread readily without continued human help (for example, many ornamental plants).
Naturalized Plant
A non-native plant that does not need human help to reproduce and maintain itself over time in an area where it is not native. Notes: Even though their offspring reproduce and spread naturally (without human help), naturalized plants do not, over time, become native members of the local plant community. Many naturalized plants are found primarily near human-dominated areas; and, sometimes, naturalized is used (confusingly) to refer specifically to naturally reproducing, non-native plants that do not invade areas dominated by native vegetation. However, since invasive plants also reproduce and spread without human help, they also are naturalized invasives are a small, but troublesome, sub-category of naturalized plants.
Exotic Plant
A plant not native to the continent on which it is now found. (Plants from Europe are exotic in North America; plants from North America are exotic in Japan.)
Translocated Plant
A plant not native to the portion of the continent where it is now found. (California Poppies in New England are an example of a translocated species.)
Opportunistic Native Plant
A native plant that is able to take advantage of disturbance to the soil or existing vegetation to spread quickly and out-compete the other plants on the disturbed site.
Common Usage - A weed is a plant (native or non-native) that is not valued in the place where it is growing (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)). Definition- Any plant that poses a major threat to agriculture and/or natural ecosystems within the United States.
Noxious Weed
Common Usage - A plant that is particularly troublesome. Legal Context (Federal Plant Protection Act) - Any plant or plant product that can directly or indirectly injure or cause damage to crops (including nursery stock or plant products), livestock, poultry or other interests of agriculture, irrigation, navigation, the natural resources of the United States, the public health, or the environment.
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:34 PM   #23
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What a blast from the past reading that thread. I miss her worminess sooooo much. I wish she hadn't liked her worms so much she had to bond with them 6' under. I will never forget her.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
- Dr. Seuss
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:34 PM   #24
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Thank you for sharing the definitions swamp thing.
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; we will understand only what we have been taught."
-Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:46 PM   #25
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Central to understanding invasive species is that they are non-native and that they cause harm. This is often confused with the definition used by gardeners for plants that simply multiply too quickly for their desires, or spread to parts of their yards where they are not wanted.

The horticultural industry does not like to use the word invasive at all (it might suppress sales); and when they do use it, they use the simple gardener's definition. To do otherwise would require them to admit that they are responsible for selling plants that do harm.
"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.
When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."
Aldo Leopold

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Old 05-04-2010, 06:51 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by tineckbone View Post
I think that the thing we have to first do is to explain the difference between the horticulture industry and the nurserys. They are not one in the same.....

The idea of considering your yard as a canvas and the plants that you put into it is what horticulture is.
This helps, a lot.

The distinction of native and non-, naturalized and invasive is also particularly helpful, as well as the definition of "invasive" to include "harm."

I guess, in light of this definition, something like field corn, which has a large range but is native in a presumably much smaller one, is a non-native but invasive only where, for instance GMO influences, cause harm. The definitions are also useful in light of "white man's footsteps," or plantain, which is at best a non-native but at worst a weed, I think? These definitions are not necessarily mutually exclusive, are they? A non-native weed under the USDA is not an invasive, but is under the "common" definition?

I'm not making any arguments here for any particular perspective, really just trying to understand. I do appreciate the opportunity. I have a nervous tick whenever I think back to my days landscaping and installing "features," that results in my completely avoiding any gardening that doesn't have utilitarian features that I can see with my limited perspective. Thanks for your help.
Creating your own personal happiness is a myth; contribute to your community's happiness, and they to you, whether they like it or not.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:54 AM   #27
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I agree CincyGarden. You had asked about education, the first step in education is understanding, the first step in understanding is dialog. I am with you when I think back to all of the "feature" plants that I have planted over the years...makes me shudder now. Maybe that is why I am so manic about ONLY using natives now...
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:27 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
What a blast from the past reading that thread. I miss her worminess sooooo much. I wish she hadn't liked her worms so much she had to bond with them 6' under. I will never forget her.
Wait, what? Doccat5's gone? Somehow I never realized that.
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:41 AM   #29
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. . . which all boils down to how information is transmitted and disseminated in our society. Actually -- a whole lot of people have access to tv and the internet. They watch HGTV. They know about native alternatives. They know what green means.

Consumers are not necessarily as ignorant as they might of been just 5 or 10 years ago. Green concepts are everywhere. And kids are learning about green in school and so the parents are involved. And by green I mean ecology and sophisticated concepts about how plants alter the environment -- not just buying 7th generation dishwashing soap.

One thing that has always bothered me about plant lists such as the one swamp thing displays above is the concept of invasability. In order for a plant to be invasive it has to find fertile ground. The local ecology (which might not have been intact for 500 years or so) has been disturbed. In order to correct the situation, the ecology has to be corrected not by just planting a native plant or two but by reconstructing a pattern that works in an ecological way. In most cases we don't know what that native ecology might have been exactly.

One such unit I think is a hedgerow for example. Permaculturists propose "food forests". There are meadows, prairies, etc. As well as the various woodland configurations.

But a few trees do not displace the destruction of a whole forest. And a few native plants - planted in rows - do not restore native ecology.

I didn't realize Doccat was gone either. Not one to sweetly agree with everyone -- she always stimulated our thinking--if only to prove SHE was wrong!
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Old 05-04-2010, 11:10 AM   #30
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Wait, what? Doccat5's gone? Somehow I never realized that.
I didn't either. She was a good woman.
The tendency of man's nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards.
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biodiversity, cost, habitat loss, horticultural industry, invasive flora, invasive plants, invasives, non-native, non-native plant, non-native species

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