From out of nowhere, my home state of Massachusetts has opened a public comment period regarding the proposed plan to ban the sale of more than 140 different non-native plant species (Well, okay, it felt like it came from out of nowhere, but the public notice is dated July 11, 2005. How did I not hear about this???). The list of species is made up of plants from the Federal Noxious Weeds List and, more importantly, the species determined to be invasive, potentially invasive, or likely invasive by the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group.
If the plan is approved, the majority of species on the list will be banned starting on January 1st, 2006, though 12 species received "waivers" of a sort and will be phased out over a longer period of time. Is 2006 really enough time, or are some nurseries that plan ahead going to get burned?
Those of you who would like to submit comments to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources about the ban have until September 30th. I emailed the DAR to ask how they were dealing with cultivars and varieties of invasive plants that were listed, an important consideration that is not mentioned in the notice. When/if I receive a response I will post it here.
Update: The Massachusetts Prohibited Plant List was approved and has gone into effect. Most plants were banned from being imported or propagated as of Janury 1st, 2006, but several species important to the nursery/landscaping industries have delayed bans that either went into effect this past July or will start in 2007 or 2009.