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Homeowner grapples with neighborly dispute over invasive plants taking over: 'You are actively harming the environment'

"You [think] it's just one plant, but you are not the only person who thinks you are an exception to the rule."

"You [think] it's just one plant, but you are not the only person who thinks you are an exception to the rule."

Photo Credit: iStock

A homeowner caused quite a stir on Reddit after sharing that they were hesitant to part with an abundance of invasive plants on their property — and wanted to add even more. 

"My state recently banned the sale/transport/propagation of over 30 invasive plant species, including several I have in my yard," the original poster wrote in the popular AITA subreddit, where commenters weigh in on whether the OP is in the wrong. 

The OP explained that most of the invasive species were already there when they bought the house, but they had introduced even more after not checking whether they were invasive. 

What's more, they hoped to add burning bush, which is classified as an invasive species in Delaware, where they live. 

"AITA for not ripping up these plants now I know they are invasive?" they wrote. "AITA for wanting to buy a burning bush or two before the ban kicks in? AITA if I dont plant more, but just keep what I have?"

Perhaps unsurprisingly, other Redditors overwhelmingly agreed that the OP was not in the right, as they were aware that their decisions would hurt the local ecosystem. 

"You are actively harming the environment you have chosen to live in," one commenter wrote

"If everyone in your neighborhood ignores this ban, or if others ignore around your state do so, it's an ecological nightmare," another person pointed out. "You [think] it's just one plant, but you are not the only person who thinks you are an exception to the rule." 

In addition to throwing the natural balance of ecosystems out of whack, leading to reduced biodiversity, invasive species can be an expensive hazard for homeowners and an inconvenience to neighbors. English ivy, which is growing on the OP's property, has also been known to weaken the structural integrity of buildings if not carefully monitored, according to Epic Gardening

"My neighbor is just like you, and I have to cull her spreading weeds every single year. Play your part and be a good part of your neighborhood," one commenter wrote. "There are a lot of pretty plants that don't mess up the environment."

Indeed, rewilded yards can save homeowners money and time on lawn maintenance, with the natural beauty of native landscaping even contributing to increased property values.  

"In the UK, we have an invasive plant called Japanese knotweed, and if it's found on your property during an evaluation, it tanks the value of your house," someone else shared.  

It's unclear if the OP will begin removing the abundance of invasive growth on their property. However, they responded positively to one commenter's recommendations for comparable native plant substitutes in the Northeast. 

Another commenter suggested the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a valuable resource for discovering gorgeous native species, passing along a factsheet aimed at helping the OP select an alternative to their desired burning bush. 

"There are indigenous and non-invasive species that will give you just as much joy, if not more," another person affirmed. "Just start doing your research."

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