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Gardening expert issues crucial warning about harmful product on store shelves at big box stores: 'I wish more people cared'

"I saw red from how angry it made me."

"I saw red from how angry it made me."

Photo Credit: iStock

With more mindful, environmentally-conscious gardening on the rise, a Redditor has shared the one thing that all gardeners should avoid buying from big box stores. 

Posting to the r/YouShouldKnow subreddit, this Redditor flagged that most big box stores sell invasive plants, which can disrupt local habitats if planted. 

Invasive plants, they explained, grow so well that they can outpace and crowd out native plants, leading them to die out.

This can have devastating consequences for local ecosystems, as insects and birds rely on specific plants they have evolved with in their habitats. If native plants disappear, then so can the wildlife they feed.

The Californian poppy, for instance, has been found to be a valuable food source for pollinators like wild bees.

"For clarification, non-native plants are not automatically invasive," the Redditor added. "I'd generally recommend native plants because they are the best for your environment and will save you loads in watering and weeding, but I'm not trying to villainize non-native plants."

A good place to start, they advised, is Wildflower.org, where gardeners can get acquainted with which plants are native to their locality.

Knowing which plants could affect the habitats beyond your garden won't just benefit local wildlife — it will save you money, too. 

Depending on where you live in the U.S., native plants like coneflowers, buffalo grass, and hydrangea are all good options that require less water because they are already well-suited to the local climate and soil conditions. 

This will ultimately reduce your water bill while helping you to create a water-wise garden — an increasingly crucial practice as temperatures continue to climb, particularly in states affected by frequent droughts. 

Native plants also help to improve the soil with their deep root systems, which prevent soil erosion. This is particularly valuable in sloped gardens or places impacted by floods.

"I wish more people cared about native plants vs invasive," one Redditor wrote. "We're in the process of trying to get rid of the tallow berry trees on our property. They are thriving in this drought while the other plants are just drooping and withering."

"I wish municipalities gave a s*** about this too," another agreed. "I'm rewriting a zoning code right now and one of their design requirements included using a bunch of invasive flowers and trees. I saw red from how angry it made me realizing that even local governments in this day and age seem to not understand how much of a problem it is."

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