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Plant this, not that: Native and invasive plants in Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department is encouraging the public to avoid planting invasive species this spring.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As you head outside to fill your gardens with plants this spring, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department is offering guidance on what you should plant...and avoid planting in Charlotte.

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In order to have a successful garden, it is important to understand what is suitable to the local environment.

Using plants that are native to Mecklenburg County helps to keep the local ecosystem in balance, as there are natural predators that keep growth and spread under control.

On the other hand, invasive species grow quickly and unchecked, with no natural predators. This growth can tip the balance of the native ecosystem.

While some invasive species, such as Kudzu, were introduced purposely (Kudzu was introduced for erosion control), many of the invasive species we have today come from China, from areas that have similar habitat to ours.

It is also important to remember that controlling invasive species is not just up to you. Birds and other wildlife can carry fruit from invasive species to other areas, allowing for them to spread. 

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Below are some native plant recommendations, followed by a list of invasive plants that the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department suggests avoiding while planting gardens.

Native plant recommendations

  • Redbud
  • Wax Myrtle
  • Sweet-Shrub, Carolina Allspice
  • Carolina Jasmine

Common Invasive Plants in Mecklenburg County

  • Autumn Olive
  • Chinese Holly
  • Chinese Privet
  • Chinese Wisteria
  • Glossy Privet
  • Japanese Stilt Grass
  • Mimosa
  • Porcelainberry Vine
  • Golden Bamboo

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