Deck the halls with…local berriesDeck the halls with…local berries<div class="ExternalClassB0960FB9FFB346A1AF29DF7CEC924B9B"><p>​One iconic Christmas carol encourages us to deck our halls with boughs of holly. Although beautiful, <a href="http://bcinvasives.ca/invasive-species/identify/invasive-plants/english-holly" target="_blank">English holly (Ilex aquifolium)</a> is considered an invasive species here in Metro Vancouver. Invasive species are non-native plants or animals which can harm our environment, health, safety or economy. And English holly is on the naughty list</p><p>If you already have holly as part of your decorations, enjoy it for one more year, but make sure to put it in the yard trimmings bin after the holidays. Please don't put English holly into your backyard, parks or other natural areas where it can quickly grow stems and take root in the soil. Once established, it shades out native trees and shrubs, and sucks up water that native plants need. Birds also eat the berries and spread the seeds. </p><p>If English holly is growing on your property, like other invasive species, it should be removed. Small plants can be pulled or dug up by hand when soil is moist whereas trees may require hiring a professional. Wondering what to plant instead? Check out Metro Vancouver's <a href="http://www.growgreenguide.ca/" target="_blank">GrowGreen</a> website for beautiful non-invasive plant and design ideas.</p><p>English holly is just one of many invasive species being tackled by Metro Vancouver's newly-formed Regional Invasive Species Task Force. Staff from member municipalities, Metro Vancouver, the provincial government and the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver are working together on this Task Force to manage invasive species across our region.</p></div>http://www.metrovancouver.org/metroupdate/PublishingImages/issue27-holly.jpg2016-12-16T08:00:00ZGP0|#77c8bf31-ba4e-4420-81d0-cfb64b6f8744;L0|#077c8bf31-ba4e-4420-81d0-cfb64b6f8744|Issue 27;GTSet|#d14ffe11-45dc-48fb-8684-ff109cf15a74<div class="ExternalClassE33BFDF1514E42DF8C8A8479D9B93DB0"><p>​The Regional Invasive Species Task Force asks you to keep an eye out for some common invasive species whether you’re decorating for the holidays, or planning the next phase of your garden.</p> </div>0