Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.


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Non-invasive choices for gardeners


While browsing through nurseries, retail garden centers, farmer's markets, and garden club plants sales, residents have the opportunity to purchase beautiful, new and exciting plants for their yards and patios.

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Our local nurseries and garden centers offer many beautiful and exciting native plants and non-invasive cultivars to please the esthetic preferences of Wisconsin gardeners.
The availability of invasive exotic plants by sellers has decreased dramatically since the implementation of Wisconsin's Invasive Species Rule (NR 40) in 2009. As a result, the public can feel much more comfortable about statewide efforts to control ecologically destructive invasive plant material.Non-invasive choices for gardeners 2

As with any new regulation, it takes a while for the information to reach all individuals who are impacted by the legislation, so while shopping this season, you may still find an occasional regulated species that should not be sold under NR 40.

SEWISC, along with other Wisconsin Cooperative Weed Management Areas and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) continually strive to educate private citizens, land managers, and landscape and nursery industry personnel about the list of plants that are now regulated statewide due to their invasive characteristics.

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Unfortunately, a few regulated species continue to be marketed to the public. Consistent education is essential to eliminating the sale and spread of these species.
Because the names of plants sometimes change, a list of the synonyms and common names for regulated plants and their cultivars has been created by the WDNR to help reduce confusion about which species are and are not legal to sell in Wisconsin.  This list can be found online at:

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), in partnership with WDNR, communicate with all licensed, regulated nurseries annually concerning NR 40 regulated species.  

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In partnership with Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Energy Corporation Foundation, Natural Resources Consulting, Graef, The Sigma Group, Endeavor, Applied Ecological Services, JF New, and Bergner Associates, SEWISC recently offered NR-40 workshops to park, highway, railroad and utility right-of-way directors, managers and staff.
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There are nine DATCP Nursery Inspectors who each work within a region to inspect licensed nurseries for plant pests and diseases and are now also checking for regulated plants.  However, some venues that sell plants are not licensed nurseries.  Outreach efforts hope to fill this void in part by educating farmers’ market coordinators each season in English and Hmong.  Visits are also made to retailers offering aquatic plants for water gardeners.

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  A few regulated exotic invasive plants continue to be marketed to the public at farmer's markets and used in seasonal arrangements by garden clubs. Consistent education will help to eliminate this source of spread.

What can you do?  Perhaps the best way gardeners can participate is to help with education efforts.  If you spot a regulated species for sale while shopping at a nursery, farmer’s market or garden club event, please send a message to: or call Mindy Wilkinson, WDNR Invasive Species Coordinator at 608-266-6437.  The seller will be given information about the regulations specific to the unlawful species.  In most cases, the sellers simply are not aware of the new legal status of some plants.  According to Mindy, the cooperation that has been shown by plant enthusiasts, nursery owners and the public to help weed out regulated invasive plants marketed in Wisconsin has been very encouraging!

• Illustrated list of regulated plants
• Synonyms for regulated plants
• State Nursery Inspectors (map with phone numbers)