CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many residents are now beginning to decorate their homes for the holidays but if you wish to use plants in your decorations, there are some you should avoid.
MassWildlife is asking residents to be mindful of the plants they use to decorate their homes as they can become invasive, spread quickly, and can even kill mature trees. Specifically, MassWildlife says to avoid Oriental Bittersweet and Multiflora Rose. While these plants may have berries that look nice on display, they can cause severe damage to native plants.
This plant can grow fast and wrap itself around nearby shrubs or trees. It can shade out, strangle and uproot other smaller plants. Oriental Bittersweet also has the potential of killing mature trees.
This plant can be identified by its woody vine that can grow up to 60 feet long and six inches in diameter. Small greenish flowers will bloom from May to June. They then produce yellow-orange capsules from July to October when later in the fall change into a red-orange color that many are looking for when decorating their home for the holidays.
This plant grows in dense thickets and will quickly outcompete more local plants. Multiflora rose has the potential to take over an abandoned field or pasture. One plant can produce up to half a million seeds and can remain in the soil for up to 20 years.
The shrub can grow up to 10 to 15 feet tall, with red and green stems that contain prickles. The leaves are known to have leaflets with sharply serrated edges. In late summer, rose hips that look similar to red berries remain on the plant throughout the winter.
When cutting down these plants to use as wreaths or garland, they can spread their seeds and invade new habitats. Birds can also be attracted to the seeds and further spread them to local environments. These invasive plants are hard to control once they begin to spread as they grow quickly and begin to grow unseen under the soil.
What to use instead:
Instead of these invasive plants, you can use more native plants that are safer than your other plants and still give off those vibrant colors or pine look you want:
- Native pines
- American holly
- Mountain laurel
- Winterberry holly
It is illegal to import or sell bittersweet and Multiflora Rose in any form in Massachusetts.