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Garden Centers Drop Invasive Plants

The sale of truly invasive plants, such as purple loosestrife, is often regulated. It is illegal to sell the once-popular landscape addition in Indiana. To combat the spread of invasive plants, garden centers are teaming up with environmental groups to stop them from spreading.

Certain environmental groups are hoping to put an end to the spread of decorative but invasive non-native plants by teaming up with garden centers that may sell them.

Big-box retailer Meijer Inc. announced in March that it is removing two invasive trees – Norway maple and Lombardy poplar – from its stores in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky.

The move is a partnership between the retailer and the Michigan Nature Conservancy, according to Stacie Behler, Meijer spokesperson.

When the Nature Conservancy came to the retailer looking for funds to eradicate invasive plants plaguing the shores of Lake Michigan, a little brainstorming happened.

“It was decided we could help change the market by making it an issue and educating our customers about the impact of invasive species,” Behler said.

That is good news to John Kwilosz, natural resource program manager for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. About 300 non-native plants can be found in the Dunes. About 20 of those plants are considered highly invasive. “Some of them are actually landscaping plants like burning bush and honeysuckle,” Kwilosz said.

Bryon Angerman, landscape manager and plant buyer at Allen Landscaping in Schererville, said the industry is trying to adapt by breeding some plants like burning bush to propagate differently.

The nursery also sells an improved variety of the Norway maple called the Emerald Luster. It is almost seedless.

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May 26, 2019, 3:14 pm PDT

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