A Beautiful Threat
Penn State | News
April 18, 2013
When you look at lovely water gardens in backyards and at businesses — and feel soothed by the serenity they convey — you would not guess that they represent troubled waters for ecosystems in the mid-Atlantic region.
The explosion in popularity of water gardening has resulted in the proliferation of aquatic invasive species, according to Diane Oleson, a Penn State Extension educator based in York County, who created an educational program that shows water gardeners how to avoid giving aquatic invaders a free ride.
Invasive plants tend to displace native plants over time and create an unhealthy ecosystem because a lot of them form huge, dense, one-species stands in which other plants can’t grow. “Animals don’t eat them because the species that would control them are back in Asia or Europe or wherever they came from,” Oleson explained.