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Thread: Naturalizing non-native plants

  1. #1

    Default Naturalizing non-native plants

    I'm wondering what non-native species of plants would be the best ones to plant at our lake property. I'm hoping that they would self seed and naturalize.

    Similarly, I'm wondering what non-native species of plants the city might be thinking of planting in the river valley for future generations to enjoy. I've seen burr oak and a few other things growing in the bush but I'm thinking more of plants that you don't normally see on the orairies or in our natural ecosystems.

  2. #2
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    Scotch Broom!



    ok ok I'm kidding.

  3. #3

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    I'm wondering if the original post was a joke. Non-native plants should never be planted with the intent to allow them to self-seed and naturalize. Our natural areas are already being overwhelmed with too many non-native species.

    Please use native species only.

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    Here is a good guide for your lake property, KC: http://aep.alberta.ca/lands-forests/...rties-1999.pdf

    Please keep in mind that you should never plant anything or remove plants in a way that impacts the riparian area.

    There are a great number of native species that you can plant to beautify your property in a way that will not damage the ecosystem. Check out page 18 in the guide for ideas on the principles you should follow. You can contact the Alberta Native Plant Council and they will assist you in planning it and picking plants that will benefit the ecosystem and provide the result you are looking for.

  5. #5

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    I had a fantastic chat with a lady from the city program 'Root For Trees' about this very subject yesterday. There is a fine balance between keeping our native species healthy and introducing non-native species to increase diversity. Essentially, if you are going to grow non-native species, do research on whether they are invasive in our region. As well, take into consideration that you can buy non seeding varieties that won't spread. Use the non-native plants with the intention of keeping them for your own beauty and not forcing them into other areas. Some great ideas for types to try are:

    1. Japanese tree lilac
    2. Snowbird or Toba Hawthorn
    3. Unity Sugar Maple
    4. Harvest Gold Linden

    If you have any more questions about trees, please give me a shout.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by WestendMark View Post
    I'm wondering if the original post was a joke. Non-native plants should never be planted with the intent to allow them to self-seed and naturalize. Our natural areas are already being overwhelmed with too many non-native species.

    Please use native species only.
    I think that's obsolete and likely a non-scientific viewpoint. It's abundantly clear (proven science) that that approach will fail us in the coming years as the climate warms. Consequently we need to start preparing for a warmer Alberta. However, if you're what they call, a "global warming denier", then sticking with native plants makes sense, but the science doesn't seem to support that strategy. In the past nature had centuries to adjust whereas now, it seems man made warming will bring rapid change that man will have to assist.

  7. #7

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    Using global warming as an excuse to plant non-native plants is silly. However, go ahead and plant your purple looserife, bamboo, and whatever else you think belongs in the Alberta landscape. While you are at it why don't you stock some bass in the local trout streams as well. They are warming up and likely won't support the trout much longer.

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    Already been done. Eastern Brookies, non Westslope cutthroat, non Athabasca Rainbows. All of them introduced.

    Hmmm, been a ban on keeping the native Bull Trout for over 20 years now. Invasive species (and overfishing) indeed.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by WestendMark View Post
    Using global warming as an excuse to plant non-native plants is silly. However, go ahead and plant your purple looserife, bamboo, and whatever else you think belongs in the Alberta landscape. While you are at it why don't you stock some bass in the local trout streams as well. They are warming up and likely won't support the trout much longer.
    So, what should the plan be? . Our 'native' species exist here partly due to the climate. In the past under different climatic conditions other plants here would also have been native plants. If global warming is now unstoppable, will our native plants simply adjust to the warmer temperatures? If not, what will they do?
    Last edited by KC; 05-03-2016 at 10:23 PM.

  10. #10

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    I guess I'm not ready to give up on native plants just yet. It's important to consider the different types of non-native plants. Some are not native to Alberta, but are found elsewhere in Canada and such plants perhaps could be given some consideration (carefully). However, other plants which are not native to North America shouldn't be considered at all in my opinion. Take Ontario and Quebec for example; they have huge problems with the purple looserife and some non-native grasses that are really taking over in some areas.

    Somebody at some point in time thought that planting these was a good idea: http://www.web2.mnr.gov.on.ca/mnr/Bi...Fact_Sheet.pdf.

  11. #11

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    Plant some northern snakehead fish in the lake too. I hear that they grow fast and are a great sport fish.
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 06-03-2016 at 06:21 PM.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  12. #12

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    I was looking for an old article in Scientific American that talked about the native population spreading non-native nut bearing trees throughout larger portions of the US but can't locate it.

    This one however conveys the idea. A very interesting article as well.


    The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492

    William M. Denevan

    Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706


    "Abstract. The myth persists that in 1492 the Americas were a sparsely populated wilderness, -a world of barely perceptible human disturbance.- There is substantial evidence, however, that the Native American landscape of the early sixteenth century was a humanized landscape almost everywhere. Populations were large. Forest composition had been modified, grasslands had been created, wildlife disrupted, and erosion was severe in places. Earthworks, roads, fields, and settlements were ubiquitous. With Indian depopulation in the wake of Old World disease, the environment recovered in many areas. A good argument can be made that the human presence was less visible in 1750 than it was in 1492."

    http://www2.nau.edu/~alcoze/for398/c...stinemyth.html

  13. #13
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    I still don't understand why you would want to pick non-native plants to begin with.

    There are many native plants that are very nice to look at. If you properly plan out your lot with all native plant species, you can also cut maintenance time and cost down to pretty much nothing.

    Why would someone want to introduce a new species that costs more and is more work, and also threatens the environment, for no reason at all?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    I still don't understand why you would want to pick non-native plants to begin with.

    There are many native plants that are very nice to look at. If you properly plan out your lot with all native plant species, you can also cut maintenance time and cost down to pretty much nothing.

    Why would someone want to introduce a new species that costs more and is more work, and also threatens the environment, for no reason at all?
    Sorry, but as I was saying, the environment will threaten the plants, not the other way around.

    If it's inevitable that the climate is going to warm, (is it?) then it's inevitable that some native species of plants (and animals) will no longer find the climate habitable. (Maybe lacking survivability characteristics for longer duration droughts or something.) So, since the climate science is improving, at some point someone is going to have to look at the actual environmental impacts beyond sea level rises, to look at impacts on all fronts.

    Moreover, apparently the science says we've waited too long to negate the effects of CO2, etc. and their impact on the climate, then isn't it logical that we learn something from that experience and begin to plan for the consequences?


    Or do we wait until it's potentially too late here too? ( Until the science is 'proven' beyond a shadow of doubt?)


    Here, see below, I see maybe two native species to Alberta but I'm not sure if any are native to Edmonton. So should all the elms, ash, blue spruce, maybe most mountain ash, etc. be removed from the city because under the right conditions their seeds can get into the river and spread?
    http://www.edmonton.ca/programs_serv...mmon-tree.aspx




    Decades ago I first read about the demise of the American Chestnut. (It drove a big chunk of the economy at its peak before it was almost wiped out by fungus and the insanity of logging any surviving trees.). The American Elm is also a fascinating story.
    Anyway, they are trying to bring the Chestnut back. If successful, the result won't necessarily be a native tree but a modified or hybrid tree.

    Hope for almost extinct American chestnut tree
    Thursday, January 21, 2016
    http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/201...-chestnut-tree

    Another article below offering two lessons: 1, invasions can be deadly, 2 change can occur faster than science can solve the problem "4 billion American Chestnuts were dead"
    MOM & POP: Saving the American Chestnut

    The chestnut blight was first observed in New York's Bronx Zoological Park in 1904. The air born pathogen arrived in a shipment of Asian Chestnut trees. By the time it was noticed that the American Chestnut trees in the park were inexplicably dying off, it was too late to stop the deadly pathogen. The disease expanded its range outwards, and by 1950, more than 4 billion American Chestnuts were dead!

    http://weymouth.wickedlocal.com/arti...NEWS/160217406
    ~
    Last edited by KC; 11-03-2016 at 03:00 PM.

  15. #15

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    Interesting. Change one way or the other seems inevitable.

    "It was identified in England in 2012 in a consignment of imported infected trees."



    Ash tree set for extinction in Europe - BBC News

    ...
    This could mirror the way Dutch elm disease largely wiped out the elm in the 1980s.
    ...
    It was identified in England in 2012 in a consignment of imported infected trees. It has since spread from Norfolk and Suffolk to South Wales. Caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, it kills the leaves, then the branches, trunk and eventually the whole tree. It has the potential to decimate 95% of ash trees in the UK. ...
    This won't just change our landscape - it will have a severe impact on biodiversity. 1,000 species are associated with ash or ash woodland, including 12 types of bird, 55 mammals and 239 invertebrates.
    Mr Thomas said, "Of these, over 100 species of lichens, fungi and insects are dependent upon the ash tree and are likely to decline or become extinct if the ash was gone.

    "Some other trees such as alder, small-leaved lime and rowan can provide homes for some of these species... but if the ash went, the British countryside would never look the same again."

    One small hope is that some cloned ash trees have shown resistance against the fungus. But that won't protect them against the beetle.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35876621
    Last edited by KC; 23-03-2016 at 08:02 AM.

  16. #16

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    Interesting interview:


    Trees survive the cold weather

    The study of two distantly related species of tree may help scientists understand how Pine and Spruce in western Canada deal with cold temperatures on a warming planet. Understanding how the Lodgepole pine and a variety of Spruce known as Interior spruce cope with unpredictable cold temperatures, including cold snaps, will help foresters plan the timing and location of planting these trees as the climate changes. A new study by Dr. Sally Aitken, a professor in the Department of Forest and Conservation Science at UBC in Vancouver, has looked at the genetics of both species for answers. Surprisingly, even though the trees last had a common ancestor 140 million years ago, Lodgepole pine and Interior spruce use the same genetic solution - known as convergent evolution - for surviving the cold

    http://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/quirk...ther-1.3784317

  17. #17

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    I've noticed that the city has planted large numbers of mountain ash, burr oak, etc. in the river valley. Non native trees but nice to have. The mountain ash stay green longer which is nice. Caragana too.

  18. #18

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    Interesting:

    Jumping Worms: The Creepy, Damaging Invasive You Don’t Know – Cool Green Science

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/blog.nat...dont-know/amp/

  19. #19

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    Also interesting:

    Opinion: It's Time to Stop Thinking That All Non-Native Species Are Evil

    https://www.google.ca/amp/relay.nati...limate-science

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