New shrubs added to Pennsylvania's list of banned plants

The sale and cultivation of Ravenna grass, glossy buckthorn, and common buckthorn will be banned in Pennsylvania beginning April 5, 2022. The Department of Agriculture added the plants to the state's list of noxious weeds due to their aggressive spread and non-native status. The plants are especially prone to taking over wooded areas and fields. Enforcement of the ban will be phased in over the next year. Suggestions for alternatives are available here.

Ravenna grass (Tripidium ravennae), also known as hardy pampas grass, is a six-foot-tall, perennial, ornamental grass commonly sold in nurseries. Its seedy plumes allow it to spread rapidly, choking out native plants and reestablishing them easily. The department will begin enforcing the ban on its commercial sale in September 2022.

Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is a small tree or shrub whose berries are eaten by birds, spreading the plant. It aggressively spreads in wetlands, taking over the native plant and animal habitats. It has a commercially available cultivar called rhamnus fine line. The department established an exemption procedure for breeders who own the rights to varieties that have been researched and proven sterile and will consider exempting these varieties from the ban. The department will begin to enforce the ban on glossy buckthorn sale in 2023.

Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is a deciduous tree that reaches 22 feet high, with dark green leaves and berries. It forms dense thickets, choking out native ecosystems. It is not sold commercially.

Read the complete article at www.northcentralpa.com.


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