Summer weather has finally made its appearance, and many Michiganders are stocking up on new plants for their garden or landscape. With people headed to their local greenhouse or nursery, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is asking the public to help be on the lookout for invasive plants, pests, and diseases.
When selecting plants and flowers, homeowners and gardeners should keep in mind the impact those plants may have on other plants cultivated around their landscape or garden. Invasive, non-native plants have few or no natural predators in their non-native environments and can quickly spread—disrupting ecosystems by pushing out native species and reducing biological diversity.
Invasive plants are not the only problem. Many plants and flowers, including those native to Michigan, can be hosts to invasive plant pests and diseases. These invasives can hitch a ride on plants and be transported to homeowners’ yards and then quickly spread to the surrounding area. Warmer weather can magnify their impact, increasing the level of plant pest infestations and disease infections, allowing pests to produce more generations each year, and extending the suitable habitat for plant pests.
“People can unintentionally move pests around the state,” said Robin Rosenbaum, Plant Health Section Manager of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “Many of the pests we are most concerned about can hide in or on untreated firewood, soil, seeds, and plants. Some pests such as spotted lanternflies can lay eggs on conveyances in an infested region and then be transported into Michigan.”
Here are some simple steps you should take to help limit the spread of invasive species:
- Visit the Michigan Invasive Species website to learn how to spot invasive pests posing a threat to plants and agriculture in your area.
- Don’t move untreated firewood. Buy certified, heat-treated firewood or buy wood where you burn it and burn it all before you go home to avoid unintentionally spreading species that hide inside untreated firewood.
- When returning from international travel, declare food, plants, and other agricultural items to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure these items are pest-free.
- Make sure seeds and plants you buy online are not invasive to your region.
For more information:
Government of Michigan