Today’s the first day of spring and many Nebraskans are itching to get going on their gardens and landscaping, but before planting any flowers or shrubs, one expert says to be sure they won’t be a pest in the long run.
Allison Zach, coordinator of the Nebraska Invasive Species Program, says you should only buy plants from a trusted source and only plant what you know.
As a general rule, she says many of the hardy, showy plants are the ones that can go rogue in your garden and yard.
“Some of the things in the plant trade, we don’t know if they’re invasive. We don’t know some of their origins,” Zach says. “It’s just important to monitor your own yard and keep it in check. So that you’re not spreading seed to your neighbors or you’re not getting something that gets out of control to where we can’t really knock it back as easily.”
Roughly 30 invasive plants are established in Nebraska or pose a threat to the state’s native species.
Zach says professional gardeners, landscapers, or experts at the University of Nebraska Extension, can help with plant selection.
When you travel, Zach warns against bringing home plants or bushes from other parts of the country, because it can pose several problems.
“If something is native to one area and you’re moving it, one thing you can think about is it could carry a disease that is not native to that new area where you’re planting it,” Zach says. “It might not have competitors to keep it in check. Another things is, sometimes insects can take a ride on those plants.”
See a list of invasive plant species and those that pose a threat HERE.