Gardeners in the Sea to Sky have lots to consider when deciding what to plant in their garden. Selecting non-invasive, bear smart plants is important to protect our community and our environment.
Although berry-producing plants like blueberry or salmonberry are native to B.C. and do not harm the environment, they are bear attractants and should not be planted in gardens or near homes in bear territory.
In general, for those living in bear territory (that includes everyone in the Sea to Sky region!), a good rule of thumb is to avoid planting anything that produces fruits, berries, or nuts, even if they are native. For instance, when choosing what to plant in your garden, the Resort Municipality of Whistler recommends avoiding fruit-bearing trees or plants, as ripe fruits are significant bear attractants. If you already have fruit trees and can’t remove them, you should remove the fruits as soon as they begin to ripen.
In some municipalities, there are certain bylaws against attracting wildlife, which include the maintenance of fruit-bearing trees. Please refer to the Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish-Lilooet regional district bylaws to learn more.
If you want to grow a non-invasive garden that won’t harm the environment, the Grow Me Instead guide is a great resource for finding non-invasive alternatives to commonly-planted invasive species. Be on the lookout for bear smart plants as you peruse the Grow Me Instead guide!
Here are some of our favorite non-invasive, bear smart plants: