The Maine Department of Agricultural, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) urges Mainers to beware of invasive plants that may be used in wreaths, garlands, and other fall decorations.
Under Maine law, it is illegal to import or sell invasive plants in any form (plants, seeds, or cuttings) in the state, including vines and fruit used to create decorative wreaths.
For complete information on the 33 species banned for importation and sale in Maine, visit the DACF website.
The two most common invasive plants used in wreaths and garlands are Asiatic bittersweet, and multiflora rose. Both plants cause severe environmental damage by invading open fields, forests, wetlands, meadows, and backyards and crowding out native plants.
Asiatic bittersweet kills mature trees through strangling.
Multiflora rose can form impenetrable thickets that keep native plant species.
Both species are difficult to control and easily re-sprout after cutting. The placement of wreaths and garlands outdoors or disposing of them in compost piles can lead to new infestations. Birds and other animals also eat the fruit and spread viable seeds into vulnerable forest areas.
“Many invasive plants may seem beautiful but are a serious threat to our natural areas and the wildlife that depends on native plants to sustain them,” said Maine State Horticulturist Gary Fish. “It is not legal to sell wreaths that contain these banned species and consumers should look for decorations with native species in them like winterberry holly, red twig dogwood, or American mountain ash.”
The public can report locations where banned plants are being sold to the Maine Horticulture Program at email@example.com or by calling 207-287-3891.