Annapolis aims to stem invasive plants' growth

March 29, 2009|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,

The City of Annapolis would impose restrictions on invasive plants if a bill the City Council is considering passes.

The bill would prohibit 97 species of invasive plants, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia's "Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States" publication, on "lots or parcels within the city unless completely contained to control growth and prevent encroachment." It would also limit growth of grass, weeds and other rank vegetation to one foot high.

The bill includes exceptions to the height requirement, including agricultural property, natural wooded areas, public parks and recreational property and unimproved areas of more than three acres.

At Monday's public hearing, Ward 2 Alderman Fred Paone, the bill's sponsor, said he introduced the bill because of neighbor disputes regarding unruly bamboo. Paone said he started to learn of constituents' problems with bamboo and kudzu, in particular, in June.

"I don't know why anybody would be against a bill like this," Paone said. "I think it's just a matter of personal responsibility on the part of property owners."

David Prosten, chairman of the 1,400-member Anne Arundel County chapter of the Sierra Club, told the council that the group supports the bill.

"The problem with [invasive plants] is when they're not controlled, they can essentially wipe out everything around them," Prosten said.

"Some of these are harder to control than others. The best thing is simply not to plant them in the first place, and hopefully that's what this legislation is trying to accomplish."

Prosten said he hopes that if the bill passes, the city will notify garden shops, landscapers and nurseries to make clear what's on the list of banned plants.

The council has until June 9 to vote on the bill.

invasive plants

A sampling of plants Annapolis is considering to restrict includes:

* garlic mustard

* common reed

* Johnson grass

* golden bamboo

* English ivy

* skunk vine

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