Phasing Out the Sale and Use of Invasive Plants

Virginia House Joint Resolution 527, approved unanimously in 2021, calls for a study that will explore options for phasing out the sale and use of invasive plants in Virginia’s horticultural industry, and to promote the sale and use of native plants. The study may include potential legislative action to be brought to the 2022 General Assembly.

More information about the study and work group is available on the Virginia DCR Invasive Plant Species Work Group page.

Contact Jim Hurley, the VNPS representative on the Working Group and VNPS Invasive Plant Education Co-Chair.

Members of the Invasive Species Work Group for HJ527 at the 7/28/2021 Meeting
(L-R) Kevin Heffernan (DCR), Nathan Burrell (DCR), Larry Nichols (VDACS)
Photo by Nancy Vehrs

News & Updates:

The Resolution calls for a study that will explore options for phasing out the sale and use of invasive plants in Virginia’s horticultural industry, which may include potential legislative action to be brought the following year to the 2022 General Assembly. The study group, which will include representatives from the nursery and landscaping industry, state agencies and environmental groups such as VNPS, will produce a report of their recommendations and findings. This is a big step forward in the fight against invasive plants!


HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 527
As passed (including senate amendment)
Requesting the Department of Conservation and Recreation, jointly with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to study the sale and use of invasive plant species. Report.
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Patrons-- Bulova, Krizek, Kory, Carr, Helmer, Hope, Keam, Levine, Tran and Ware; Senator: Ebbin
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WHEREAS, an invasive plant species is a plant that originates outside a region and causes damage to the environment, the economy, and human health after its introduction to a new region; and

WHEREAS, landscaping with invasive plants causes economic and environmental damage and impinges on the rights of neighbors on whose properties the plants encroach; and

WHEREAS, Virginia residents, state agencies, and local governments spend substantial amounts of money each year on the removal of invasive plants, many of which are still being offered for sale in the retail, landscape, greenhouse, and nursery industry, which exacerbates the problem; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the Department of Conservation and Recreation, jointly with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, be requested to study the sale and use of invasive plant species. The study shall focus on sales in the retail, landscape, greenhouse, and nursery industries and consider measures to reduce or eliminate the sale and use of invasive plant species in the Commonwealth and promote the sale and use of native plants.

In conducting its study, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, jointly with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, may convene a work group that includes the Department of Forestry, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Department of Wildlife Resources, the Virginia Native Plant Society, Blue Ridge PRISM, the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, the Virginia Agribusiness Council, the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, an individual from the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University who has expertise in invasive species, local government associations, and such other stakeholders as the Department of Conservation and Recreation, jointly with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, deem appropriate.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation, jointly with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shall direct the work group to examine measures to reduce, mitigate, and eliminate the continued sale and use of invasive species as identified in the list of Virginia invasive plant species maintained by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The work group shall evaluate measures including (i) labeling plants as invasive plant species at the point of sale; (ii) taxing the sale of invasive plant species and applying revenues to the removal of invasive plant species or the restoration of sites for native habitat; (iii) adding invasive plant species currently being offered for sale to the list of plants declared to be noxious weeds by the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services through regulations adopted pursuant to Chapter 8 (§ 3.2-800 et seq.) of Title 3.2 of the Code of Virginia (the Noxious Weed List); (iv) supporting education and outreach, including state partnerships with nonprofit organizations dedicated to the preservation of Virginia's natural heritage, regarding the reduction of the use of invasive plant species and the promotion of the use of noninvasive or native plant species as substitutes; and (v) introducing measures to increase the use of native plants on properties and projects owned by localities or the Commonwealth.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation, jointly with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shall direct the work group to make recommendations regarding (a) statutory changes and (b) changes to regulations or guidance documents adopted by relevant agencies, including changes related to the placement of plant species on the Noxious Weed List.

All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for this study, upon request.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation, jointly with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shall complete its meetings by November 30, 2021, and shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an executive summary and a report of its findings and recommendations for publication as a House or Senate document. The executive summary and report shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports no later than the first day of the 2022 Regular Session of the General Assembly and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.

9 Comments

  1. Susan Perry on May 25, 2021 at 10:21 am

    I fully support this Resolution (HJ 527) to curb the promotion and selling of invasive plants here in VA.

    I went to my local nursery to get “pollinators” for a patch in my front yard. One of the dozen of plants they sold me was an Autumn Olive. It grew so quickly and evaded almost the entire plot. I have to hire someone to dig up the roots. It is cited by experts as a toxic invader. There was no reason for this nursery to carry this plant much less sell it to me, when asking for their expertise.

  2. Geralyn Lindmar on May 25, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I recently moved to Powhatan Virginia and I am trying to establish meadows with native plants and grasses on my property. It’s amazing what native plants species grow if you let them instead if mowing everything down. I am getting some positive and negative feedback. Somehow mowing everything is favored over preserving.
    I’m all for not selling invasive plants and removing the non natives when possible. My pet peeve is Callery pear. I tried to explain the threat but people don’t listen. When they see the fluffy white blooms everywhere they think its beautiful not realizing the potential effects to native trees, plants and wildlife. Education is necessary!

  3. Deborah C Hayes on July 12, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    Can you send an update on the legislation?

  4. VNPS Communications on July 13, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Hello Deborah, and thank you for your inquiry. Please see the News and Updates section at the beginning of this post.

  5. Anne Brosnan on August 10, 2021 at 10:34 am

    Excited to read about this commonsense effort to end the sale of invasive plants.

  6. Bev Horton on September 5, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Long overdue. I am so glad to see this effort getting underway. Our list should match closely with neighboring states

  7. Sue Puleo on September 15, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    We desperately need this legislation to stop the spread of invasive plants. Virginia needs to be out in the forefront on this and not behind in doing what is right and necessary to protect our native Virginia landscape

  8. Carrie Blair on September 16, 2021 at 10:08 am

    The 2022 General Assembly needs to address the sale of nonnative invasive trees, shrubs and vines
    to control the overuse of destructive plants that replace native diversity. So much wildlife habitat is lost, land is marginalized and the economic impact of invasive plants requiring removal is burdensome. Please support legislation removing the worst plants from the horticultural trade:
    English Ivy, Bradford Pear, Autumn Olive, Multiflora Rose, Wintercreeper Euonymus,
    Japanese Barberry, Japanese Knotweed, Japanese Honeysuckle, Oriental Bittersweet.

  9. Marion on September 30, 2021 at 8:09 am

    LOVE! Wish it could happen in PA.

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