stem of blackberry in a field of grass

Find out about invasive plants in Surrey and alternatives for your garden.

Invasive plants have negative impacts on our urban forest. In their natural habitat, they have natural predators and competitors that keeps them under control. However, in new places with no natural controls, they escape gardens, outcompete native plants and take over natural areas.

Invasive plants are usually beautiful, and grow quickly and easily, making them a desirable plant for your garden. But don’t let these sneaky plants fool you—they cause serious harm.

Community Impacts

Invasive plants have lasting economic, social and environmental impacts:

  • Lower habitat value for local wildlife as the native plants they depend on for food and shelter are outcompeted by invasive ones.
  • Changed landscapes. When invasive plants take over, natural areas may not function well.  Invasive plants may reduce shade and shelter, weaken soil stability, and alter the movements of wind and water.
  • Increased exotic pests and plant diseases, like black garden slugs.
  • Increased cost to the City to restore parks affected by invasive plants.
  • Reduced recreational value. Invasive plants reduce the natural beauty and decrease the variety of plants and animals.
  • Reduced crop yield by an estimated $50 million annually in B.C.

Invasive Plants Spread Quickly

  • Seeds: Many invasive plants are very good at spreading their own seeds. For example, Policeman's Helmet can fling its seeds up to 7 metres (23 feet)!
  • Growth: They creep into natural areas from other properties, growing over, under and even through anything in their path. English Ivy can spread up to 4.5 metres (14 feet) in one year.
  • Waste: Invasive plants are tough and can keep growing from even the smallest parts of the plant. Dumping yard waste in natural areas is a sure way to spread these unwanted plants, and it's against the law.

Help Reduce Impacts

  • Avoid planting invasive plants on your property. Find the right plant for your lawn or garden.
  • Properly dispose of your garden clippings, hanging baskets, and other yard waste. Place these in your organics cart for curbside pickup.
  • Familiarize yourself with common invasive plants in B.C, be on the lookout and report any suspected sightings!
  • Volunteer to remove invasive plants in your neighbourhood park.
  • Improve your awareness, detection and control of invasive species in our region by taking Metro Vancouver's one-hour, online introductory course

Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed can cause considerable injury to people and is a serious threat to natural ecosystems. To report this plant along City of Surrey roads, boulevards, ditches and in park land, please call our service request line at 604-501-5050.

Is That Plant Invasive?

There are some garden plants that aren’t native to the area, but don’t cause harm to the natural habitat—these are called non-native or "exotic" plants. Find out if a plant is invasive in B.C

  • Native plants: a species that originates from and evolves with its surrounding habitat and has adapted to living in that ecosystem.
  • Invasive plants: a species that outcompetes native species and harms the environment, economy, and/or society, including human health (e.g., giant hogweed).
  • Non-native plants: an introduced species that originates from somewhere other than its current habitat, and generally does not cause harm. Non-native species are sometimes referred to as “exotic”.