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Avoiding Invasive Plants

What are invasive plants?

Invasive plants are non-native plants that grow out of control in parks, gardens and other green spaces.  Most of these plants were introduced because they look nice and grow easily, making them popular garden plants.  In their natural habitat they have predators and competitors that keep them managable; however, in a new place with no natural controls they escape gardens and grow unchecked in natural areas.

How do invasive plants spread?

Seeds: Many invasive plants are very good at spreading their own seeds.  For example, Policeman's helmet can fling its seeds up to 7 metres (23 feet)!

Growth: They creep into natural areas from other properties, growing over, under and even through anything in their path.  English ivy can spread up to 4.5 metres (14 feet) in one year.

Waste: Invasive plants are tough and can keep growing from even the smallest parts of the plant.  Dumping garden clippings in natural areas is a sure way to spread these unwanted plants, and it's against the law.

Why are invasive plants a problem?

Invasive plants have lasting economic, social, and environmental consequenses, such as:

  • Lower habitat value for local wildlife as the native plants they depend on for food and shelter are displaced by invasive ones.
  • Changed landscapes.  Every native plant serves an important purpose in nature, and as invasive plants take over, natural areas may not function properly.  Invasive plants may reduce shade and shelter, weaken soil stability, and alter the movements of wind and water.
  • Increased exotic pests and plant diseases (like black garden slugs).
  • Reduce recreational value as invasive plants reduce the natural beauty and decrease the variety of plants and animals.
  • Reduce crop yield by an estimated $50 million annually in BC.
  • Increased cost to City of Surrey (tax dollars) to restore parks affected by invasive plants.

How can you help?

  • Properly dispose of your garden clippings, hanging baskets, and other yard waste.  It can be placed in your green organics bin for curbside pickup to be properly composted.
  • Learn how to identify Surrey's common invasive plants.
  • Avoid using invasive plants or contain them in pots to prevent their spread.
  • Volunteer to remove invasive plants in your neighbourhood park.

Learn more about invasive plants:

Surrey's Invasive Plants (PDF. New window)

Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver(Website. New window)

Invasive Species Council of British Columbia(Website. New window)


Have you seen Giant Hogweed growing in your yard, local park or neighbourhood?

Please contact City of Surrey and educate yourself about this toxic plant before attempting to remove it.

View a selection of commonly found invasive plants in Surrey: