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plantrightlogo Promoting non-invasive plants in partnership with the horticultural industry to protect California's natural beauty, wildlife and communities.

From the Sustainable Conservation Blog

Planting Right: Science-based, Industry-Focused Approach to Protecting California

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As the second greatest threat to biodiversity after human development, invasive species pose an enormous risk to California’s native plants, wildlif...
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Periwinkle is a fast-growing plant that crowds out other vegetation and degrades wildlife habitat.

Invasive plants damage California’s natural landscapes and impact people. They reproduce quickly, blanketing natural areas and outcompeting native plants and animals. Invasive species are the second greatest threat to biodiversity after outright habitat destruction, and are a contributing factor in the decline of almost half of all imperiled species nationwide.

Invasive plants threaten communities by clogging waterways, increasing flooding risk and escalating fire danger. In California, the estimated annual cost to manage invasive plants tops $85 million. Nationally, the cost runs in the billions of dollars.

Sustainable Conservation, along with our partners, is working to stop the sale of invasive plants and doing so in ways that make economic sense.

While most garden plants are not a threat, more than half of all known invasive plants were introduced through horticultural channels. PlantRight, launched by Sustainable Conservation, is a diverse alliance of plant growers and retailers, environmental advocates, academics, and professional gardeners and landscapers who came together because they share a belief that prevention is the most effective way to combat the spread of invasive plants.

California’s nursery crops contribute significantly to the state’s economy. Valued at approximately $11 billion annually in production and sales and supporting nearly 200,000 jobs, nursery crops combined with floral crops are the second largest agricultural crop in California.

The industry has an opportunity to become part of the solution. By adopting sustainable business practices to prevent the sale of invasive plants, California's nursery trade can avoid future invasions – and without potentially burdensome regulations.

Getting Industry Involved

PlantRight is partnering with leaders in California’s nursery industry to find cost-effective ways to stop the sale of known and emerging ornamental invasive plants and prevent the introduction of new ones to protect California’s unique biodiversity and natural beauty. Key components of our strategy include:

  • Engaging retail nurseries, landscape professionals, and horticultural growers to voluntarily remove known invasive plants from their inventories and replace them with non-invasive alternatives. Learn more here.
  • Preventing the introduction of new invasive plants by deploying PRE (Plant Risk Evaluation), the first WRA (Weed Risk Assessment) tool designed specifically for the horticultural industry that is faster, easy to use, and 98% accurate in predicting invasive behavior by region. The PlantRight PRE equips propagators with the ability to determine a plant's invasive risk level (to know before they grow) for the region and marketplace in which it is being evaluated.
  • Conducting an annual statewide survey of California nurseries and plant retailers in partnership with the UC Master Gardener Program to assess the availability of invasive plants and guide PlantRight's strategy in promoting safe, noninvasive alternatives. See the results of our 2014 survey, which shows that more than 80% of the surveyed nurseries were not selling invasive plants on PlantRight's original list.
  • Providing science-based information to California's nursery industry that is clear, practical and accessible.
  • Reinforcing positive behavior by recognizing nursery and landscape professionals who are: protecting California's natural spaces; protecting taxpayer wallets, and Planting Right!

Visit the official PlantRight website to find out how you can help protect California by avoiding invasive garden plants.