Aquatic retailers and water garden centres are being urged to get behind the Be Plant Wise campaign this autumn, to help prevent the spread of invasive species.
The campaign from the GB Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) reminds retailers to be careful with their messaging to customers asking them to:
> Know what they grow, and help customers choose the right plants for their pond or aquarium
> Stop the spread, advising customers how to keep plants within their own gardens, ponds and tanks
> Compost with care, advising customers on how to dispose of unwanted plants, roots and seed heads responsibly.
The campaign reminds retailers that there are already a range of plants that are banned from sale, and that it is an offence to allow a number of the most invasive plants to grow in the wild. In Scotland it is an offence to allow any non-native plant to grow in the wild. Many invasive plants can still be sold legally, but should only be grown, managed and disposed of with caution to avoid environmental harm.
Invasive plants can be a problem either through spreading pests and disease or by competing for light, nutrients and water, all of which can have a wider impact on natural biodiversity. Pond and aquarium plants can be particularly devastating if they escape into a natural waterbody.
A free factsheet for retailers is available from: www.nonnativespecies.org//beplantwise/index.cfm