By Dee Boggus, Pickens Master Gardener
More than once at the “Ask a Master Gardener” table in the Jasper Farmer’s Market we have received queries regarding invasive plants.
An invasive plant is defined as any plant spreading so precipitously as to displace native plant communities. This rapid annexation can cause significant harm to surrounding environments as native species currently nurturing wildlife are edged out.
Invasive plants often materialize via global trade, human, or animal transport. After gaining a toehold, invasives can be further dispersed by means of wind, birds, and insects.
Unfortunately, even native plants can be considered invasive if their vigorous habits decrease overall biodiversity, threatening other native ecosystems.
Of course, plant growth habits that are acceptable within my own two-acre planting zone might not be at all tolerable for any gardener planning a petite garden. And while I love my purple blooming native Phlox divaricata, this plant spreads fairly rapidly via seeds and will overgrow a bed if not kept in check.
A better choice might be a different native phlox, Phlox paniculata, as its more moderate growth habit would better suit gardens with limited space allowances. You can also purchase hybrid versions of Phlox divaricata that will not spread rampantly via seed.
Although most invasive plant listings for a given area do not include natives, you can access the University of Georgia’s current list of invasive plants at this website: https://gatrees.org/wpcontent/uploads/2020/02/Invasive-Plants-of-Georgia-Forests.pdf.
Be aware that this list is fluid as researchers discover new aspects that might add or even subtract plants.
If you are interested in learning about invasive plants, Pickens County Master Gardeners are hosting an educational event called “Plant This – Not That” on June 3rd at the Pickens County Extension Office on 68 D.B. Carroll Street in Jasper, GA. At this event you will learn what to plant and what to avoid planting in your garden.
This program has been created by Bartow County Master Gardener Kerry Defoe and will take place from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Due to space limitations only 30 seats are available for this event so please call 706-253-8840 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat today!