Spring is now here (for real this time…no more teasers!) and the garden chores have commenced. Remnant leaves have been cleared to make way for fresh mulch, shrubs have been pruned back, and stray seedlings of Rose of Sharon, Burning Bush, and Nandina are being pulled up.
That last one is turning out to be a real chore, and why I’ve had a change of mind over the last few years about those shrubs, as much as I’ve enjoyed them. After I got the leaves raked up, I found dozens and dozens of little Nandinas coming up from where berries had dropped off the parent plant or were distributed by birds and the seeds germinated. Same story with the Rose of Sharon and Burning Bush. Suddenly the true reality of non-native, invasive plants hit home. Permitted to freely re-seed like this, these shrubs potentially overtake native plants. When this happens, important food sources for wildlife are jeopardized. If you haven’t already planted butterfly bush, nandina, or burning bush, don’t. If you already have them, remove the berries (Nandina berry clusters look wonderful in a vase on the table!) so as not to encourage a forest of that particular shrub overtaking everything else.