Terrestrial Plant Rule: don’t add these banned plants to your garden
As of April 18, 2020, Indiana has 44 new banned plants. It is now illegal to “sell, offer or grow for sale, gift, barter, exchange, or distribute a species,” within Indiana.
When picking landscaping for 2020, you should double check you aren’t planning to include one of these invasive species. These plants may start innocently enough. After all, how bad can one plant be for the environment if it is just one part of a garden? Then, the problems start.
Seeds from invasive species can be carried by animals, then spread beyond your own property. After this happens, you are no longer in control of the plant’s growth. It can then continue to spread through the ecosystem and create problems.
One plant making the banned list is Amur Honeysuckle. IUPUI's Center for Earth and Environmental Science provides some insight into this troublesome plant. Originally introduced from Asia, it is now particularly widespread in northern Indiana. Each spring, honeysuckle gets its first leaves before the surrounding native plants. This means the invasive species has a chance to grow and take over more space before the native plants start to bud. Because honeysuckle is not a native plant, the local wildlife will not eat it. This allows honeysuckle to continue growing with essentially no limit.
With honeysuckle taking over the landscape, local vegetation’s growth is compromised. This has more complications down the food chain, as not enough local plants may be produced to feed local wildlife.
When deciding what you want to plant this spring, your primary concern is likely, ‘What will look the best?’ Starting in 2020 however, another concern should be, ‘Is this plant from Indiana? Will it harm the environment if it gets beyond my garden?’
Starting now, plant nurseries can no longer sell these 44 species (or they risk a fine). If you already have one of these in your garden, you will not be in trouble. As soon as you move the plant or introduce it to a second location, that is when the new rules come into play. It will be harder for Hoosiers to get their hands on these invasive plants, and hopefully this will create some relief for our forests.
To report an invasive species in Indiana, use these resources from the DNR.