By Kristina Swerhun
Published: June 23, 2012
The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) has just completed the second year of its Invasive-free Certification program for the horticulture industry, the first of its kind in BC.
It all began at a horticulture forum hosted by the SSISC in November of 2010, where there was feedback from the industry that there was generally a lack of education on invasive species and their significant threats – some even reducing property values.
The goal was to integrate targeted invasive species management into the practices of horticulture and landscape companies serving the Sea to Sky corridor, and recognize those companies that are making a difference.
Training has been provided to participating companies on:
- Species recognition and procurement practices – ensuring products purchased/grown are not invasive
- Site & species appropriate control methods – ensuring an understanding of the types available
- Disposal practices – ensuring that invasive plant seeds or plant parts are properly disposed of
The program this year involved over 60 participants representing 15 different companies, who have all made a commitment to minimize the threat of invasive species in the Sea to Sky. Look for Invasive-free Certified sticker on their vehicles and places of business.
Bathtub Garden, Deeply Rooted Landscaping, Garden Inspiration, The Gardener’s Yard, Green Admiral Nature Restoration, Heike Designs, High Country Landscaping & Garden Centre *NEW*, JB Horticultural Services, Jim’s Mowing Eagleview, Latham Landscapes, Miller Capilano Maintenance Corporation – Horticulture crew, Mountainberry Landscaping, Sound Garden Landscape & Design, Village Green Landscapes, and Whistler landscaping.
The SSISC salutes the companies that have volunteered to take part in the program. They are making a difference as we all work together to address this important issue.
The SSISC thanks the Community Foundation of Whistler for making this program possible.
Invasive plants are non-native and have the potential to pose substantial undesirable or detrimental impacts including:
- Biodiversity loss – including rare & endangered species
- Habitat loss – for wildlife, birds, fish and other organisms
- Harm to human and/or animal health – can be toxic
- Significant reductions in the quality & quantity of crops
- Increased wildfire risk
- Reduced land values
- Increased erosion & stream sedimentation
One species of major concern is Japanese knotweed. In the United Kingdom, Japanese knotweed reduces property values and in some cases, people have been unable to secure a mortgage or insure their property due to knotweed infestations.
It is conceivably only a matter of time before this is the case within the Sea to Sky corridor. Early detection and control is the best way to mitigate damage, one reason to work with Invasive-free Certified horticulture professionals.