Thursday, January 2, 2014

Follow up on ivy at TJ's

A tree trapped in ivy
Trader Joe’s corporate offices have responded to our complaints about the sale of English ivy by suggesting the ivy they sell is “non-invasive”.   “Non-invasive” ivy is a contradiction in terms.   While it’s good the ivy they sell doesn’t go to seed and is slow growing, one of the reasons ivy has been such a successful invader is because it reproduces both by seed and vegetatively.  Any ivy plant, disposed of on soil, is capable of rooting and spreading.  I shared Trader Joe’s response with Sasha Shaw, at the King County Noxious Weed program.  Her response is quoted below:

“I think that is a pretty good answer and effort on their part.  Although it would be great to not see English ivy sold at all, it is true that the variety they sell isn’t on the state weed list, and if it doesn’t go to seed and grows slowly that is definitely a plus.  It’s a nice touch to say for indoor use only.  They are making an effort to be conscientious and I think that’s a good thing that should be encouraged and rewarded.  The one additional thing they could add is a caution about disposing of the ivy outdoors to prevent potentially spreading it.  Disposal should only be in a yard waste bin or other enclosed container.”

Sasha also informed me that the decision to forbid the sale of any form of ivy in Washington State is made by the State Department of Agriculture, Nursery Inspection Program, as was done in Oregon.  So, until the Department of Agriculture acts, I think we should continue to
1) Not buy ivy and spread the word on “evil ivy”.
2) Remove ivy from our yards, parks and green spaces (it can be done, with persistence and good follow up, check out what has been accomplished by the Green Seattle Partnership in West Seattle parks).
3) Continue to challenge the retail sale of ivy.  “Non-invasive” ivy is a contradiction in terms!

And as other writers have pointed out, ivy is not the only invasive plant threatening the health and survival of our vital green spaces.

Sharon Baker
Volunteer Forest Steward
206.464.1068 cell

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