Two members of Acadia’s invasive plants management team attack a patch of privet on Bar Island IN 2016. Privet, and 32 other plants, will be banned from sale in Maine starting in January 2018. ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

State prohibits sale of 33 invasive plants



AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) has adopted rules to prohibit the sale and distribution of 33 terrestrial plants that were deemed invasive. The plants were reviewed by a specially-convened committee of horticulture professionals, land managers, foresters, wildlife biologists and other scientists. The new rule went into effect on Jan. 14, but the prohibition of sales does not begin until Jan. 1, 2018.

“The plants on this list have invaded farms, fields, forests and wetlands throughout the state,” said Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. “Although many were originally promoted with good intentions, such as, the prevention of soil erosion or to support wildlife, they have spread throughout Maine to the detriment of native species. In many places, they have come to dominate forests, wetlands, fields and local landscapes, excluding native plants that support our economy and natural areas.”

“The Maine Forest Service, Public Lands and the Natural Areas Program have joined with the Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources to locate and eradicate invasive plant and animal species,’ said Doug Denico, Maine state forester. “The Public Lands are a major focus of current efforts, with education of the public also a critical undertaking in order to extend the department’s statewide effectiveness.”

“All but three of the prohibited plants have been, or continue to be sold in the nursery trade,” said Gary Fish, Maine State Horticulturist. “Some of them have already been discontinued by nurseries which recognized their harmful potential. Three are not intentionally sold, but are “horticultural hitchhikers” which sprout as weeds in the pots and root balls of plants sold in the nursery trade. A few of the plants are still in some demand, including Japanese barberry, burning bush, privet and Norway maple, especially the crimson king variety. Maine nurseries and garden centers will have until January 1, 2018, to sell stock already on hand.”

Many noninvasive alternatives are available to help homeowners and nursery professionals satisfy their landscape needs without using the invasive plants on the list.

Visit the DACF website at www.maine.gov/dacf and search for “invasive plants” to see a copy of the rules, the plant list, a list of alternatives and other related resources.

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