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The General Assembly is homing in on pesky invasive plants

In this Dec. 17, 2009 photo, Big Picture high school student, Victor Cadena, 14, works through the ivy at the West Duwamish Greenbelt walking trails as he volunteers with the Nature Consortium in the open space park in Seattle. The wet, mild climate of Western Washington and Oregon is ideal for English ivy and English holly, ornamental plants beloved when they stick to the yard or show up in Christmas wreaths and other decorations. But they are hated when they beset parks, green spaces and forests. (AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)
Kevin P. Casey
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FR132181 AP
In this Dec. 17, 2009 photo, Big Picture high school student, Victor Cadena, 14, works through the ivy at the West Duwamish Greenbelt walking trails as he volunteers with the Nature Consortium in the open space park in Seattle.

Members of the General Assembly are considering legislation aimed at cracking down on invasive plants.

Anyone who's had to go after English Ivy knows how invasive plants can be a mess. That's why environmental groups are supporting a bill that would require signs at garden centers and plant nurseries warning customers about invasive plants, although the House and the Senate have different ideas about where the signs should be located.

Chris Lehan is with the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.

"Having a sign at the front of the store where you go, ‘Hey, I need to be on the lookout for an invasive plant.’ That's an improvement over where we are today," Lehan says. "But, what would be a better improvement and our preferred approach would be being able to walk into the store and go, ‘Oh, these are the ones that I have to worry about."

Brad Copenhaver represents the Virginia Landscape and Nursery Association.

"With a sign being required in proximity or by each display or by each plant, that could change almost daily, especially in certain seasons at a store," Copenhaver says. "And so, to have one sign at every entrance we think is much more workable for the folks who run these centers."

Delegates and Senators are likely to work out their differences on where the signs should be located in a secret closed-door conference committee.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.