Possible New Invasive Plant Regulations in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania may soon regulate as many as 120 plants over concerns of invasiveness. Many of these plants are common in environmental horticulture, while others have little if any commercial significance.

The Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association (PLNA) asked its members via a survey to rate the 120 plants on their value to the industry. A reported forty-three members completed the survey; the results are available for review.

The Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council (PISC), an advisory group, may recommend all or some of these plants for regulatory action. All plants are listed at the species level and do not account for sterility differences among cultivars. Plants such as Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry), Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush), Euonymus alatus (burning bush), Acer palmatum (Japanese maple), and Viburnum plicatum (viburnum) are under review for possible restriction.

The regulations could range from implementation of permit requirements for propagation and/or production to an outright ban on propagation, sale, or transport.

The Controlled and Noxious Plant Committee (CNPC) is developing a plant evaluation protocol as a means to rate the need for regulation. Plants that rate high on the protocol are more likely to be considered for regulation. The information provided from the survey will be incorporated into this tool, in addition to the expected environmental harm from an individual plant species.

“We are proposing that any plants on this list that come out of the evaluation protocol as truly bad actors be phased out of production over time based on their time in the production pipeline, allowing growers time to phase out current stock and replace with species that behave better,” commented Gregg Robertson, government relations representative for PLNA.

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