On this page:
- Background Information
- Do Not Sell Plant List
- What Are Invasive Plants?
- Alternatives to Invasive Plants
- Updating the Do Not Sell Plant List
Ch 273, Criteria for Listing Invasive Terrestrial Plants (DOC), prohibits the sale of plant species determined to meet the invasive plant criteria described in the rule (The Do Not Sell Plant List).
The final section of Ch 273 prescribes a five-year review of the listed species. In 2021 the Horticulture Program began the review process by assembling a stakeholder committee that is assisting in reviewing the rule. More Information
Different Invasive Plant Lists for Different Purposes
There are three different invasive plant lists in Maine. The lists are maintained by three different programs in two separate departments. While this may be confusing, each list serves a separate purpose.
- Do Not Sell Invasive Plant List: This list is maintained by the Horticulture Program in the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Do Not Sell List is also sometimes referred to as the Prohibited Plant List or the Banned Plant List. This is a regulatory list of plants intended to prevent or limit the introduction and spread of invasive plants sold in the horticultural trade. It is illegal to import, export, buy, sell or intentionally propagate for sale the species listed on the Do Not Sell Plant List.
- Advisory List of Invasive Plants: This list is maintained by the Maine Natural Areas Program in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Advisory List is NOT regulatory and is intended for education, outreach, land-management and other non-regulatory uses. Species on The Advisory List are NOT prohibited from sale unless they are also listed on the Do Not Sell Plant List or the Invasive Aquatic Plant List.
- Invasive Aquatic Plant List: This list is maintained by the Invasive Aquatic Species Program in the Department of Environmental Protection. The Invasive Aquatic Plant List is a regulatory list of invasive aquatic plants that can not not be introduced, propagated or sold in Maine.
Questions?: Call Gary Fish 207-287-7545 or email email@example.com
The invasive plants listed below are illegal to import, export, buy, sell or intentionally propagate for sale or distribution in Maine. The ban includes all cultivars, varieties and hybrids of these plants.
Species links go to fact sheets that help with identifcation and control.
- Gardening to Conserve Maine’s Native Landscape: Plants to Use and Plants to Avoid - University of Maine
- Plants for the Maine Landscape - University of Maine Master Gardener Manual
- Alternatives for Invasive Ornamental Plant Species (PDF) - Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
- Alternatives to Invasive Species (PDF) - Native Plant Trust
- Alternatives to Invasive Landscape Plants (PDF) - UNH
- Native Plant Finder - National Wildlife Federation
- Plant Selection Resources - Maine YardScaping Partnership
- Maine Sources for Native Plants - Maine YardScaping Parnership
- Alternatives to Invasive or Potentially Invasive Exotic Species (PDF) - NEWFS
In Maine a plant is considered invasive if it:
- is not native to Maine
- has spread (or has the potential to spread) into minimally managed plant communities (habitats)
- causes economic or environmental harm by developing self-sustaining populations that are dominant or disruptive to native species
Invasive plants are a direct threat to Maine's natural and working landscapes. The aggressive growth of invasive plants increases costs for agriculture, can affect forest regeneration, threatens recreational experiences, and reduces the value of habitats for mammals, birds and pollinators.
Chapter 273, Criteria for Listing Invasive Terrestrial Plants prescribes a five-year review of the species listed on the Do Not Sell Plant List. DACF began the review process in 2021. The Horticulture Program has assembled a stakeholder committee to assist in reviewing the rule and proposed species to add or remove from the list.
The stakeholder committee is comprised of a variety of individuals from industry, government, non-profit and educational institutions that represent different organizations affected by the development, implementation and enforcement of the prohibited plant list.
The members of the stakeholder committee are:
- President of the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association: Ryan Russel, Land Plans Inc.
- Representative from a production nursery: Jake Pierson, Pierson Nurseries
- Representative from a retail nursery: Randy Martin, The King's Gardener
- Representative from a land trust/land management community: Amy Soper, 7 Lakes Alliance
- Representative from the production forestry sector: Kyle Burdick, Baskahegan Company
- Representative from DACF, Natural Areas Program: Molly Docherty, Director, Maine Natural Areas Program (MNAP)
- Representative from a university or college with an ornamental horticulture experience: Matt Wallhead, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
- Representative from either Maine Department of Transportation or a municipal public works: Kyle Rosenberg, Bath City Arborist
- Representative from DACF, Horticulture Program: Gary Fish, State Horticulturist
Committee Tasks and Process
The stakeholder committee held meetings throughout 2021 and is continuing to meet in 2022. The steps, tasks and process used by the committee to review Ch 273 include:
Develop a list of potential species to be evaluated for addition to the Do Not Sell Plant List
The list of species to be evaluated may include:
- Species from the MNAP Advisory List of Invasive Plants,
- Plants suggested by committee members,
- Species that have been submitted by the public using the Maine Invasive Plant Nomination Form (PDF),
- Climate shifting species of high impact,
- Plants regulated by other states, or
- Plants known to invade rare or sensitive habitats.
The committee will only consider species for inclusion on the list that are either available for sale or are known to hitchhike with plants offered for sale.
The committee may also develop a list of species or cultivars currently on the prohibited plant list to consider for removal from the list using suggestions from the committee or cultivars that have been submitted by the public using the Request to Exempt a Specific Cultivar (PDF).
The list of potential species will be evaluated for invasive potential using the criteria listed in Ch 273
The Rule lists specific criteria that a plant must meet in order to be considered invasive. The species must:
- be non-native,
- rapidly grow, establish and spread in minimally managed habitats,
- have the biological potential to spread widely including across spatial gaps (unassisted by people),
- exist in high numbers or large colonies in minimally managed habitats and
- displace native species in minimally managed habitats.
The committee will finalize a proposed list of species to be included on the Do Not Sell Plant List
When developing the proposed list the committee may consider additional data and other information than just the criteria listed in the rule; a species evaluation may determine that the species is invasive, but the species is not automatically included on the Do Not Sell Plant List.
Factors the committee may consider for species inclusion or exclusion from the list could include (but are not limited to):
- Extent to which the species is available in the nursery trade or if the species is known to move as a hitchhiker with plants offered for sale,
- Any economic, social, cultural or environmental benefits of the species,
- Distribution and range of habitats in Maine where the species could be invasive,
- Climate change influences on range shifting invasive species
Proposed rule changes will be published and available for public comment
The Department will follow the rule making process to propose any changes to Ch. 273, including the list of invasive plants prohibited from sale. This process includes collecting public comment on the rules, responding to those comments and adjusting the proposed rule, based on collected comments, if necessary.
Opportunities for Public Participation
While the stakeholder committee does the bulk of the work to assemble, review and prepare a proposed list of species for inclusion on the Do Not Sell List, there are still ways for the public to participate.
Here are four ways you can participate in the process:
- Have a species in mind that you think should be evaluated for inclusion on the Do Not Sell Plant list? Submit the species using the Maine Invasive Species Nomination Form (PDF).
- Is there a new or existing cultivar of a species on the current prohibited list that research shows is not invasive? Submit the Request to Exempt a Specific Cultivar paperwork.
- Contact a committee member to discuss a particular species and how its inclusion (or exclusion) on the prohibited plant list might affect you.
- When the proposed rule goes out to public comment, review the proposed rule and submit your comments. The Department will respond to every comment before the rule is finalized. In some cases, if enough comments are submitted suggesting changes the proposed rule may be revised and re-submitted for public comment. The only way for us to know how the proposed rule affects you, is if you tell us!