You may be asking yourself, why is there so much attention given concerning invasive plants?
Tackling the invasive yellow-flag iris problem at Erie lake
Selkirk College’s second year Recreation, Fish & Wildlife students are here to tell you the impacts and management privations yellow-flag iris can have on native plant species and communities, landscapes, and wildlife.
CKISS staff talking with RFW students Photo: Doris Hausleitner
How did yellow-flag iris get introduced? The perennial aquatic species was introduced to North America in the 1800’s and sold in nurseries for ornamental use around ponds and water gardens.
Yellow-flag iris at Erie Lake, Salmo, BC. Photo: Doris Hausleitner
Once an infestation is established, removal costs are high. Bring your spade shovel, long rubber gloves, and get ready for some challenging, time-consuming hand removal. Removal is especially challenging due to the large root ball and rhizome deep in saturated soils. Here is a link to a short video of Yellow-flag iris removal and all the fun associated with it… wink wink.
For best management practice, it is encouraged to remove the invasive plants when population densities are low and isolated.
Impacts on Wildlife and Landscapes
Ornamental plants, such as the yellow-flag iris, can have devastating effects on landscapes, wildlife, and native species. CKISS (Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society) staff stated that the plant can have toxic effects on wildlife if ingested. Another issue is the reduction of native habitat resources that are used by many wildlife species.
Landscapes can drastically change if yellow-flag iris populations are not controlled and dense populations are cultivated. Critical agricultural irrigation canals and flood control ditches can also be blocked.
Mitigating the Spread
There are many things you can do to control the spread of these species and keep invasive plants out of our beautiful province. If you are shopping for plants, choose those beautiful native species! To help getting familiarized with native plant options in the Kootenays, visit Kootenay Native Plants.
If you are wanting to dispose of your invasive plants, remove before seed heads start to flower, and dispose of them in a clear garbage bag. Remember not to dump anywhere but the landfill. Even once you have removed the plant, the seeds can spread quickly and start new colonies.
It is FREE to get rid of your invasive plants at any RDCK and RDKB landfill. To find more helpful resources, please visit the CKISS website.
British Columbia is known for its beautiful wilderness and pristine waters. Let’s stop these invasive plants from taking over the important biodiversity that many wildlife rely on in their natural cycles, and that we love and take pride in.
Garbage bags full of yellow-flag iris Photo: Doris Hausleitner