Q: Why are invasive plants a threat?
A: Invasive plants typically have few (if any) natural enemies and a very high reproductive rate. These characteristics allow invasive plants to out compete our native species of plants, which could lead to disruption of ecosystems. A perfect example of this is the invasion of purple loosestrife in many wetlands.
Q: I Have a Norway maple and burning bush plant as a part of my landscaping. How will this ban affect me?
A: The law does not affect existing plantings already within the landscape. Only the importation, sale, propagation and related activities for the listed plants are affected.
Q: Will it be illegal for me to transport and plant Norway maple (or other listed plant) from another state?
A: Yes. The purpose of the ban is to stop the spread of invasive plants in Massachusetts. Furthermore, introducing plants from another state can increase the risk of the unintentional release/introduction of harmful pests and pathogens.
Q: Is there a list of alternatives species to the plants that are banned?
A: Several lists are available, online, at nurseries, or in books. One such list is provided by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station .
Q: What can I do about the bittersweet & purple loosestrife invading my property?
A: Measures for weed control eradication (on your property) will depend upon the type of weed and level of infestation. Oriental bittersweet, for example, can be controlled by cutting the vine at its source. More extensive infestations may need the assistance of a lawn or tree care specialist.
Q: My neighbor's Norway maple has been releasing seeds onto my lawn. Will this ban force him to cut down his tree?
A: Again, the ban does not affect existing plants/trees already within the landscape. . Norway maple saplings can be easily hand pulled or mowed to eliminate infestation in your lawn.
Q: I have a hedge of barberry; which has become a necessary and attractive property boundary in my neighborhood. An accident at the corner destroyed 10’ of my 75 feet of hedge. Can I purchase the material I need to fill this gap?
A: No plant can be sold or propagated in Massachusetts after the listed propagation ban date. There are, however, alternatives to barberry which can be used to fill the gap within your border. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is considered a good substitute for barberry.
Q: I’ve noticed that a few aquarium plants are listed. How can aquarium plants threaten the ecosystem if they are contained within one's home?
A: Unfortunately, aquatic plants have escaped aquariums to infest our waterways. Aquarium plants escape through both accidental and intentional releases. Brazilian waterweed is an excellent example of an aquarium now impacting waterways in New England.
Q. Isn't it too late? Purple loosestrife, for example, is everywhere. What good does banning it now do?
A: Some of the species on this list are already widespread in the environment and are not being sold. However, in many cases there are efforts to control these species, especially in certain areas or habitats where they are not yet widespread or where the habitat is particularly important or sensitive. It simply does not make sense to allow the continued introduction of a species in the state where there are ongoing efforts to control it.
Q. A lot of these plants are tropical and would not grow in Massachusetts. What purpose does banning these plants serve?
A: Aside from those plants listed, which have been found to be invasive in Massachusetts, DAR has also listed those species listed on the USDA Noxious Weed List. All of these species have been found to be problematic somewhere in the United States. It is illegal to bring them into the country or to transport them across state lines. Since none of these plants are native to Massachusetts, DAR has listed them in order to compliment federal requirements.
Q: I have burning bush in my yard and I can barely keep it alive. How can DAR say that it is invasive?
A: Not every single individual plant in the listed species will become an invader. Whether an individual plant or planting will spread will depend a number of factors including soil, light, water, cultivar traits, etc. All of those species listed have been found to be invasive in Massachusetts. Since the species is invasive and these other mitigating factors cannot be predicted or effectively controlled for, the option is to ban the species.