Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Maine nursery and landscape industry perspectives on invasive plant issues.

Abstract

A survey of the Maine landscape and nursery industry was conducted to identify industry views on invasive plant issues, attitudes towards potential regulation, and to estimate the potential economic costs of banning the sale of specific invasive plant species in Maine. Analysis of the 190 surveys returned (19% of 980 mailed) revealed that 76% of industry member respondents were genuinely concerned about invasive plant issues, and the same percentage felt the horticulture industry is responsible for educating customers about invasive plants. Industry members (68%) did not feel compelled to sell invasive plants merely on the basis of customer attraction to the plant, or due to competition with a neighboring business that sells the invasive plant. Self-reporting of sales indicated that Norway maple ($96K), burningbush ($68K), and Japanese barberry ($44K) constituted the largest portion of annual industry revenue (maximum values reported for 2006 to 2008) derived from the sale of seven identified invasive plants. Industry self-regulation was the most favored form of regulation, although the industry likely would not be significantly affected by legislated state-wide bans of at least purple loosestrife and oriental bittersweet. Bans on other popular invasive plants, including burningbush, Japanese barberry, and Norway maple likely would have a relatively small, short-term impact on the horticulture industry until alternative plants with similar properties were identified. The results of this survey demonstrated a need for identifying which plants are truly invasive or potentially invasive in Maine, as well as a need for open discussion of invasive plant issues among all interested parties in Maine.