Ore. arboretum’s dilemma: Exotics or natives only?

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The members of the arboretum at Mount Pisgah south of Eugene are wrestling with a question that resonates in a state facing numerous difficulties with invasive species: Should they go through with plans to plant exotic trees, or should they plant only species native to the Willamette Valley?

The arboretum is at the base of the thousand-foot hill prominent along Interstate 5.

The Register-Guard reports (http://bit.ly/wALulu ) that volunteers have spent thousands of hours pulling invaders such as poison oak, blackberry vines and Scotch broom.

Since the 1970s, the arboretum has planned to devote some plots to tree species from around the world.

But some members say that’s risky and sends the wrong message to visitors.

So the arboretum board is taking comments and considering a change in the mission statement.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com