Invasive Species Cost $137 Billion Dollars in 2019

Invasive Species Cost $137 Billion Dollars in 2019

“Invasive species are a global issue, but they impact local communities causing damage to their economy and environment daily.

Dr. Mark Renz | Professor & Extension Specialist | University of Wisconsin at Madison

Invasive species include non-native insects, animals, invertebrates, aquatic organisms, diseases, and plants. Their hallmark is the ability to outcompete the native species within their new environment.

Although most people may not be aware of the expense of invasive species, they do cause a considerable expense to our country. In 2019 alone, the cost projections were roughly $137 billion.

February 24th – 28th is National Invasive Species Week (NISAW)

Every year, the efforts this week focus on awareness of the persistent battle against invasive species’ damages. Word is getting out there:

  • Consumers are getting more savvy about the impact of invasive species.
  • Most insurance companies look for beneficial programs that help reduce liability costs.

Verified Purchases Help You Stop the Spread of Invasive Species

Plant Sentry™ is an affordable and scalable software solutions to protect wholesale, retail and e-commerce sales. It helps you do everything you can to stop the spread of invasive species.

This efficient software is a big part of the solution moving forward. As you know, it takes time to build and maintain relationships with all the regulators at State and Federal levels.

We help you manage all the compliance requirements. This includes both growing and shipping regulated plant materials for each State of origin and each destination State.

Our team stays active in the game. This way we stay ahead of new regulated plant, pest, and disease concerns.

In addition, we serve on councils, committees, and a board regarding the issue of invasive species. We speak to national audiences at industry conferences and universities to promote our effort.

Our work is continuous, not only one week out of the year.

Get Compliance Support with Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry ™ is a consolidated national compliance database of all State and Federal regulations governing plant diseases, regulated pests, invasive plants and quarantine areas. It is continuously updated.

This mobile-ready tool makes it easy to comply with rapidly changing growing, inspection and audit requirements for all Federal regulations and restrictions of all 50 States.

National Invasive Species Week puts a spotlight on invasive species solutions. It’s time for efficient tools like Plant Sentry™ to stop these pests.

Get a free quote for your customized Plant Sentry™ solution.

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Unseen Costs of Prohibited Plant Shipments

Unseen Costs of Prohibited Plant Shipments

There are many consequences of shipping pests, diseases, and invasive plants that affect our communities. Poor plant shipments result in expenses of billions of dollars per year nationwide.

At the state level, bad plant shipments tie up critical state resources. Already stretched to capacity, officials must work to mitigate invasive pests, invasive plants or plant diseases.

Each state is handicapped by plants that escape cultivation and harm the environment. For example, Wisconsin battles buckthorn, Japanese barberry, Phragmites, and more.

These battles cost landowners and hard-working taxpayers millions of dollars.

Bad plant shipments can be accidental. Or, they can be intentional, when someone evades regulations.

Putting Years of Development in Jeopardy

Strong efforts are being funded by the green industry to develop new plants that are resistant to pests or disease. Breeders are also scrambling to develop non-invasive plants to battle the issue.

These breeding programs develop new plants that help growers and retailers make sales in areas that have prohibited the unimproved genera of plants. They must be approved by state officials.

Developing new trees and shrubs can take decades to develop, with funding and physical labor needed in significant amounts. All this effort can be for naught, if the new plant can’t be shipped into the states most hurt by the unimproved genera.

Bad Plant Shipments Hurt Working Relationships With State Regulators

The green industry must cooperate with regulations for invasive plants, pests and diseases. If they don’t, states are less likely to be cooperative in making exceptions for new non-invasive, low fertility plant cultivars developed by breeders.

For instance, a breeder may spend eight to twelve years developing a triploid burning bush (Euonymus alatus) that produces very few viable seeds per mature plant.

Regulators exposed to a non-cooperative industry may be less inclined to allow an exception for the triploid cultivar.

The case is often made by regulators that it is simpler and more efficient to restrict an entire species without exceptions.

“Our industry needs to work with the regulators of plant material and its pests to protect our business interests as well as the natural areas,” said Mike Yanny, President of JN Plant Selections. “We need to help the regulators do their job successfully to accomplish our common goals, with the least amount of pain to the industry.”

Affordable Plant Sentry™ Stops Bad Plant Shipments

The team behind Plant Sentry™ acknowledges the problem of selling and shipping the wrong plants to areas affected by pests, diseases, or invasive species, and they know it must be stopped.

We also understand that there are laws in place, but the information can be hard to track down and interpret.

 “Working with Plant Sentry™ can be an excellent way to make shipping easier,” said Yanny. “Using their expertise allows businesses to know they are being responsible for protecting areas from invasive pests and plants. At the same time, they can ship in an efficient and productive manner.”

  • Plant Sentry™ tracks down and interprets regulatory information for growers, retailers, and more using a maintained national database that verifies plant shipments.
  • It creates a single language for correct botanic nomenclature, eliminating any possible confusion in shipment.
  • Plant Sentry gives retailers a strong marketing tool. Displaying the Plant Sentry™ verification seal assures consumers that their plant purchases have added value.
  • Plant Sentry™ uses an emergency response in any accidental shipments, which works to prevent any loss of control.

In total, Plant Sentry™ is not only an effective solution to mitigate bad plant shipments, it’s a sustainable way to move a growing operation forward. By proofing each plant purchase for consumers, it will inevitably help growers and retailers move more plants the right way.


Protecting Plants and Giving Thanks

Protecting Plants and Giving Thanks

In celebrating the month of Thanksgiving, we see homecomings for many families across the nation. We treasure the joy and togetherness, talking about great times and eating favorite foods like cranberries, corn, pumpkin pie, and the famous turkey.

You might be surprised to hear that many food items showing up on your kitchen table could be severely affected by certain pests, diseases, and invasive weeds.

Green Industry is Concerned About the Movement of Pests, Diseases, and Invasive Species

The recent eradication of Plum Pox, a lethal virus of the genus Prunus-including apricots, almonds, cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums-is a significant example. Putting up a twenty year fight, the disease resulted in enormous eradication costs for the United States.

Plum Pox would have severely impacted the $6.3 billion dollar stone fruit industry if not contained and eliminated. Though we applaud the efforts it took to ensure this pest was put to rest, the Plum Pox situation stresses the need for compliance, both interstate and abroad.

Consumers and Compliance Can Stop the Spread

With countless other pests and diseases-not to mention invasive plants-costing billions of dollars, it is critical that industry put a stop to the spread. Fortunately, there are two proven methods for doing just that.

First, as a team, industry must work to teach consumers the appropriate way to purchase plants. Second, industry must verify that the right plants get shipped to the right places. It seems quite simple, and yet, persistent issues continue to escalate all over the country and beyond.

Use a Systems Approach to Validate the Proper Shipment of Plants

Plant Sentry™ is a software solution that frees up critical staff time by using a systems approach to validate proper shipment of plants.

The green industry is unquestionably responsible for regulation, and it should take charge in thwarting all activities that ignore these fundamental policies. The largest green industry organization, AmericanHort, is supporting Plant Sentry™ efforts to promote a healthy, quality environment for our land, communities, or neighboring businesses (i.e. orchards, agronomic crops).

The standards of this approach furthermore align with and enhance other certification programs. AmericanHort, as well as other green industry groups, knows the value of consumer satisfaction. The Plant Sentry™ seal of verification maintains consumer confidence in our products, pushing both products and the nation forward.

Utilizing this tool helps on two additional fronts. It funds key research and programs through AmericanHort and it puts products where they should be.

Ship Nursery Stock with the Plant Sentry™ Verification Seal

Allow plants to be grown where they should be grown, without negatively impacting the environment or affecting that holiday meal.

The fight is far from over, but this Thanksgiving, each and every individual has the chance to make a real difference. Help lead the fight to plant what is right


Invasive Species Cost Hidden Dollars and Headaches

Invasive Species Cost Hidden Dollars and Headaches

Invasive species, whether they are plants, pests, or diseases wreak major havoc throughout the United States. Bill Jones of Carolina Native Plant Nursery recently published an informative article in Nursery Management Magazine regarding the amount of money spent trying to eradicate these species from each state. 

Costs to Fight Invasive Species Are Staggering

States are spending an estimated $50,000,000,000 to $120,000,000,000 to fight invasive plant species, pests and diseases. With costs as shocking as these, you may be wondering who really pays for it all—and you’ve most likely guessed it. The U.S. taxpayer is paying these astronomical costs. 

In Jones’s article, he questions who is liable for these problems in the first place. One can point the finger in many different directions, but most often the Green Industry is to blame. 

To date, the Green Industry has not hit the liability front for these expensive, vast cleanups. However, as grant funding starts to fall short and less money becomes available, someone is sure to pay. 

We’d all love to believe that controlling invasive species is easy when money is accessible, but it truly isn’t. Anyone having to deal with the eradication of a plant, pest, or disease understands the painful headache accompanying it. 

Small teams of volunteers and grant-funded staff battle invasive plants, pests, and diseases year-round. Some of these species may be too far gone to ever get under control. 

Further, the invasive front often involves organisms that drift into the United States from outside of the country. In order to prevent new plant problems on top of this, there are many educational tools, including Plant Risk Evaluator Tool™ (PRE) from Plant Right® that can be utilized. 

This may be one more thing that lawmakers can use when deciding whether or not to ban a plant. Most states already have invasive species laws and established processes for assessing plants, but any additional strategy has merit.

Regulate to Slow Pests and Diseases

As far as pests and diseases are concerned, such organisms must be regulated to slow the spread. In some cases, regulation offers the opportunity for eliminating them altogether. Several successful programs are currently in use to control the Asian Longhorned Beetle and eradicate the Plum Pox Virus from New York. Though costly, these programs do work, and the end result is extremely rewarding. 

However, it is important to understand that the threat of the spread of pests, diseases, and other invasive species can happen rapidly, especially today. With trade, eCommerce, garden clubs, benefit auctions, countless avenues of transportation, and more, regulation is more critical than ever before. 

Plant Sentry™ Was Developed To Fight Invasive Plants, Pests and Diseases

Plant Sentry™ was developed to help ease the navigation of verifying plant shipments. This can be done any time during the process up until ship point. With proven auditable results, this tool can help stop the spread of pests, diseases, and invasive species. 

Even more, in the case of an emergency, Plant Sentry™ helps mobilize individuals quickly to extinguish the fire. 

Minimizing future liability by buying a product today isn’t only smart—it’s vital. Plant Sentry™ is indubitably a valuable option; it is efficient and direct when used to a grower’s advantage. 

Winning battles against invasive species requires vigilance, and Plant Sentry™ employs this to its core. 

In today’s world, we must all do our part. And so, we urge you to take action. 

Employ these proven tactics. Commit to a healthier, headache-free environment. And better yet, do it today, because tomorrow may be too late. Contact us to start the conversation. Our team is here to help get your questions answered.


First National Invasive Plant Database

First National Invasive Plant Database

Plant Sentry™ Helps Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants

With a threatening accumulation of regional plant problems, groups fighting invasive plant species are increasing across the US. As states spend millions of dollars battling such plants, these groups are attempting to protect the healthy environment. The efforts underway work to suppress the spread of unwanted plants that destroy both landscapes and habitat.

A new group of enthusiastic residents from Hamilton County, Indiana has formed to help control invasives. Specifically those that the Indiana Native Plant and Wildlife Society speculates cost the state more than 5.7 million dollars annually.

Phil Flannagan, a group spokesperson, says, “Invasive species can cause a domino effect that harms ecosystems. Some of the berries invasive plants produce, birds eat them, but it’s like a sugar high. There’s no real nutrition there.”

Flannagan is referring to the laxative effect, which causes wildlife to lose energy, making them more susceptible to poor health and even survival. The laxative effect has been proven to spread the invasive plant problem at a more exponential rate, as well.

According to Flannagan, “I think most people, if they knew what was going on, they would not plant something like that.”

So now we raise the question: how do you know what to plant – or even more importantly – what plant could pose a problem in your area? To answer this question, we must navigate plant shipment regulation.

This can be difficult for both consumers and growers, as plant shipment regulation is so complex. To find out whether a plant can or cannot be shipped to a certain state, loads of information is compiled.

To make things even more challenging, such information must be sorted, maintained, and kept up-to-date. So how we do answer our critical questions efficiently?

Luckily, a solution for the struggle is here. Through Plant Sentry™, the first national database is newly available, and it can be used by growers to help promote shipping the right plant to the right place. Plant Sentry™ utilizes every available tool to stay ahead of regulation, saving growers time and money. This allows them to concentrate on new plant varieties that do not cause problems.

Not only will this solution help nation-wide, but it will assist small groups such as the one in Indiana, allowing them to get a foothold on what invasive plants are present. It will also prevent the wrong plants from being shipped to their state.

Additionally, education and the evaluation of potentially problematic plants will further the goal of protecting the environment and landscape from invasive species. Pre™ Tool , developed by Plant Right® with the help of researches at the University of California-Davis and the University of Washington will also help feed the proactive effort to prevent new regional invasive plant species.

Fortunately, our team at Plant Sentry™ is watching changes in plants that might occur with the assistance of great programs like Pre™ Tool so you do not have to.

Though not widely known, every state battles some type of invasive plant problem. Even more, every state has groups that exhaust efforts to clean up invasive plant problems.

With great optimism, we can say that the upward trend of efforts to eliminate invasive species will only increase over time. If you are a landowner, you may or may not have experienced an invasive plant issue; however, those that have should be excited to know that the proactive movement to stop the spread is growing.

We encourage everyone to support this movement in any way. Together, and with great determination, we can eliminate invasive plant species from our quality landscapes and environment.


Plant Right®

University of Washington

University of California-Davis

Current in Wesfield-Current Publishing, Carmel Indiana


Invasive Plants Have a Big Impact on Freshwater Habitats

Invasive Plants Have a Big Impact on Freshwater Habitats

Trout Unlimited, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving freshwater habitats, has been improving environments for many years. Working across the nation to protect and restore freshwater habitats, Trout Unlimited faces multiple challenges. One battle in particular has proven to be a persistent challenge… fighting invasive plant species.

Though the nature of surrounding plant species may not seem significant, invasive plant species have a serious influence on freshwater habitats. Not only do they crowd out native vegetation that shades trout streams, but invasive species are also a nuisance to bikers, fishermen, hikers, and kayakers attempting to navigate such thickets. This often results in a negative impact on local economies.

In 2016, Trout Unlimited conducted a study in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, specifically looking at the characteristics of a trout economy. Restoration of productive trout streams in southeastern Wisconsin had generated billions of dollars in tourism and created more jobs.

1,200 miles of habitat was restored, totaling 24,000 square miles in the Driftless Area. An increase from $1.1 billion dollars in 2008 to nearly $1.6 billion dollars by 2016 was seen as the percentage of visitors drastically improved. These visitors are critical, as they also spend money at gas stations, specialty shops, hotels, restaurants, and more. This creates a multiplier effect.

When asked, 88% of visitors reported recognizing that the areas had been restored. They had decided to fish the Driftless Area because of its new beauty and accessible healthy trout streams.

Another study conducted by the Department of Biology at the University of Dayton concluded that honeysuckle Lonicera maackii was highly disruptive to the biomass in surrounding streams. Driving out native plants necessary for maintaining biodiversity for many species, including trout, the plant creates a very dense canopy that almost completely shades the opportunity for new plant life to emerge. Furthermore, it limits the possibility for stream regeneration to occur.

Removing the Honeysuckle eliminated massive leaf barriers, allowing native leaves to support the stream life. The University of Dayton concluded, as many others have, that invasive plant species have a strong influence on macroinvertebrates and their population survival.

Invasive Plants Are An Ultimate Challenge

Altering aquatic food webs necessary to sustain life is especially a prominent issue. With millions of dollars used to battle and remove invasive plants in such regions as the Driftless Area, it is evident how significant the issue is. However, investment in conservation and restoration has proven to improve both local habitats and economies. As a result, it is important to consider prevention methods. This way, the issue at hand could be fought before it expands.

Prevention methods are an effective solution, and one in particular works to protect environments from plants that pose harm: Plant Sentry™.


Plant Shipment: It’s More Than the Box

Plant Shipment: It’s More Than the Box

Plants are being shipped from state to state more frequently today than ever before. Most consumers are unaware of what’s involved to ship and deliver healthy plants without significant economic and environmental risks.

Shipping Plants Successfully is Not Easy

Some companies claim that their boxing technique is better than the competitors. Does this single step guarantee you are getting the best plant? Certainly not, industry best practices now include certified processes that ensure plants have been cared for properly and verified not to spread harmful pests, diseases, or invasive species.

The Plant Sentry™ process starts by working with state and federal officials. We ensure that every step is followed to the letter of the law, and we support growers in their compliance efforts before they ship a plant intra- or interstate. The entire inspection team places another set of eyes on each step in the critical process needed to get you a healthy plant.

How do you know this inspection has taken place? You should know immediately, as each plant article must contain a general plant inspection certificate issued by the state. In some cases, there may even be a federal shield on the outside of the box.

These established guidelines help protect our valuable resources—including agricultural commodities, urban municipalities, water, and the environment—from billions of dollars in damage each year. The utilization of state and federal inspectors is a great help in saving your hard-earned tax dollars.

Thinking Outside the Box…

It’s true that not all boxes are created equal. However, it’s not just the box that protects the plant. Growing techniques, inspections, and care along the way all play a big part in protecting plants.

Most online vendors do not have standard operating procedures to make sure the plant care is consistent and regulated. At Plant Sentry™, we employ the rigid guidelines of the American Standards for Nursery Stock and align with the Systems Approach to Nursery Certification Standards (SANC) among all other sustainability practices and the latest science generated by our best universities.

At Plant Sentry™, we work with growers to achieve successful shipping of healthy plants to your door. We listen to renowned universities, knowledgeable state and federal officials, and most importantly, we listen to you. Fine attention to detail, grower and staff empowerment, team engagement, and assistance from state and federal officials is a systems approach you will not find outside of Plant Sentry™.

Our e-commerce certification sets us apart from the rest. A healthy plant grown at its original location and shipped fresh to you is the best prospect. It is no different than picking a fresh green bean from the garden. Wouldn’t you feel more confident purchasing a plant through a certified source?

You could have the best box design in the world, but it is only one small component of a larger, critical process. Choose Plant Sentry™ certified growers and retailers to ensure your plants and the environment are considered with integrity at every stage of the plant shipping process.


Plant Sentry™ Looks At National Invasive Species Week

Plant Sentry™ Looks At National Invasive Species Week

National Invasive Species Week is here. It’s time to salute all dedicated universities, organizations, landowners, nurseries, plant breeders and consumers for doing their part to help combat this serious environmental threat.

Over time, invasive species cost the United States $1.5 billion annually. They have disastrous effects on agriculture, municipalities, and habitats. To those who have experienced the common struggle of chopping out buckthorn or pulling garlic mustard, you understand the difficulty of eliminating invasive species problems.

Plant Sentry™ works with universities, organizations, and officials from across the country to prevent future problems. We accomplish this by eliminating the purchase of plants that pose threats to their particular region at the consumer level, as these plants could cause irreversible harm. Additionally, our staff is extremely committed, serving on various committees to stay well-informed and providing ideas to mitigate both current and future invasive problems.

Organizations we work with are also developing wonderful predictor tools. This allows the green industry to stay ahead of future invasive species issues, growing only plants that stay at bay when planted in our landscapes. These tools furthermore help plant breeders in the green industry remain focused on developing plants that stay in check. That way, consumers and municipalities do not have to worry about plants getting out of control or escaping their landscape.

It is important to note that each state regulates invasive plants differently, as they know their particular region best. Some plants are highly invasive in certain parts of the country but pose no problems in others. The nationwide cooperation among states has strengthened the effort to continue knocking back invasive problems, and in some cases, it has even eliminated them.

Invasive species include more than plants. There are insects, aquatic plants, and both aquatic and land organisms that also play a role. Believe it or not, there exist invasive animals too, such as feral hogs.

In recent years, two prominent insect species have made an appearance: Emerald ash borer and the spotted lanternfly. Emerald ash borer, which has been around longer, has cost the states billions of dollars. Our hope is that this super cold winter has knocked this pest way back, maybe even eliminating some cases of it. 

This week, Plant Sentry™ honors all that are participating in invasive species related activities across the country. In a sense, it is everyone’s duty to be vigilant at the time of plant purchase. However, we understand the chaos of daily life, and that is why we are doing our best to ensure you are protected when you purchase a wonderful plant for your yard.


Plant Sentry™ Maximizes Your Profits

Plant Sentry™ Maximizes Your Profits

Plant Sentry™ is Very Easy to Use

Nurseries across the country are taking a serious look at Plant Sentry. Their goal in using the tool to protect their business in the face of an ever-changing regulatory climate.

Here’s how it works. It starts with providing your botanical plant inventory and the locations you ship from and to. From there, the Plant Sentry™ team audits each plant article and identifies the state and federal regulations for pests, diseases, and invasive species for your plants and locations. Once complete, you’ll have access to your database of plants & shipping restrictions through our web portal and you’ll receive a suggested compliance list for each plant article that may need some resolution.

This includes general purpose information as to why it a plant article may not be shippable to a particular state. The information will alert you with simple reasoning: often pest, disease, or invasive plant. This analysis helps prevent the accidental shipment of the plant article in question that may pose a threat to shipment region.

Each plant article with reasoning should be submitted to your state or federal regulatory official. We’ll provide information that will help you coordinate with the appropriate officials. Then, your state and/or federal official will instruct you on what needs to be done to become compliant if a pathway exists for shipment of the plant article.

Once compliant, you will be able to add the blocked states back onto plant availability and shipment lists, enabling you to re-open that market. If there are multiple regulatory items, you must decide which ones are feasible or economical for you based on the product that the market will serve. Thus, every plant article you receive compliance for adds more markets to your list to serve.

Plant Sentry also offers more stringent guidance for plants that may be in question.  Hence, Plant Sentry™ provides you with vital plant regulatory information to determine whether a plant is safe to ship to an area. This is part of our unique model in which multiple methods are utilized to ensure we reach the green industry’s goal of minimizing, reducing, and eliminating the spread of pests.

This leading approach adds one more line of defense to place the right plant in the right environment. You’ll be able to maximize out on happy customers and profits while keeping your company image intact.

Additional, innovative developments to the Plant Sentry™ Approach align with our continued improvement motto. Plant Sentry™ not only helps point you in the right direction for efficiently completing processes needed for full compliance, but it also offers direction on plant inspection, assistance in locating state or federal official contact information, and guidance as to how to interact with the regulatory officials.

In addition, this approach can deliver sound educational advice to aid in making solid economic decisions based on any plant issues in question. Our team’s years of production experience, combined with our work alongside established organizations and use of predictor tools, can help determine future outcomes of plants and their potential effects on the environment, agriculture commodities, and more.

Expansions coming soon will further allow for faster processing, making it easier to get the information you need. Extra features will include alerting you to an unrecognizable container size. Altogether, it is our priority to listen to our extensive network of professional growers that includes some of the nation’s best.

The information growers provide is crucial to optimizing the tools that will help their businesses. Most importantly, our mission of continued improvement will remain highly regarded as Plant Sentry™ moves forward in advancing the green industry.