April 16, 2021

Indiana county that banned invasive plants eyes outreach

VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) — Officials in a southwestern Indiana county that became the first in the state to ban the sale of invasive plants are hoping to expand their outreach efforts this year to landscaping and home improvement businesses.

Knox County officials approved a county’s invasive species ordinance in August 2018 that became Indiana’s first regulations on terrestrial invasive plants, such as English Ivy and burning bush.

That measure prevents the sale, trade and import of more than 60 invasive plant species in the county, and puts Knox County at the forefront of Indiana’s native plant species conservation efforts.

Since the ordinance took effect in January 2020, it has prevented nearly 900 invasive plants from being sold and planted in the county, the Vincennes Sun-Commercial reported.

But now members of the county’s Invasive Species Board hope to expand those efforts by offering educational outreach to local landscaping businesses to promote the merits of native plant species.

Although it’s now mid-winter, board members said now is the time reach out and educate because in less than two months, many local landscape and home improvement businesses will begin receiving shipments of plants for spring.

Will Drews, the natural resource specialist with Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District, is working to create training material, likely in an online format, about invasive plant species for store employees.

“We will need to keep it short and manageable to entice people to complete the training,” he said.