City must exert its control over invasive plant species

Bravo to City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) for proposing action on the issue of invasive exotic plants (“Gennaro’s new bill to propose invasive species board,” Fresh Meadows Times, Dec. 2-8). These plants, the Nazis of the vegetative world, were brought to our shores from foreign lands. Because their growth is unchecked here by natural controls such as disease or insects, these plants grow unfettered and quickly overwhelm whole natural ecosystems.

A public discussion of this issue is long overdue. Property owners, landscape designers, landscape contractors and proprietors of garden centers need to be informed about the monsters they are unleashing by dealing in certain plants. Education about the dangers of exotic invaders and the alternatives, which can be planted instead, is the first step. Outright prohibition of them is another topic of discussion.

One worthy city effort not mentioned in your article, which is threatened by the aggressive invaders of the plant kingdom, is Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Million Tree Initiative. Those trees planted in natural areas can fall victim to marauding invaders, especially the vines bittersweet, wisteria and porcelain berry.

The issue of invasive plants is also a matter of being a good neighbor and respecting those around you. One property owner who plants an invasive plant which spreads quickly and knows no bounds can be imposing that invader on his or her neighbors.

Thanks to Gennaro for starting a discussion about this important issue for the city’s vegetative landscape.

Dana Gumb


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