FIELD NOTES: THE INVASIVES – Not a Summer Blockbuster!

I’m one of those gardeners that walks through my garden with a cup of coffee in the morning, checking out what’s blooming, what insects are eating which plants and (always) weeding as I go…

But wait, there’s that vine/weed with the orange root. BITTERSWEET ALERT!

I’ve found that my morning strolls through the garden are the best way to stay on top of the INVAIDERS, otherwise known as the INVAISIVES. No, it’s not a summer blockbuster movie, though, like the mega movie productions,  we’re spending millions of dollars on the removal of these unwanted species that never quit and threaten native species. Oriental Bittersweet, Virginia Creeper, Poison Ivy are just a few vines that keep invading from the woods behind my home. Not to mention Japanese Barberry, Winged Euonymus (Burning Bush), Multiflora Rose and Buckthorn – the invasive shrubs that keep appearing as “reruns”.

I was shocked to learn that my county, Essex County, is #2 in Massachusetts with the most invasive species reported. Here are the  culprits:

Top Ten Abundant Invasive Plants (by number of reports)

  1. multiflora rose – 1190 reports
  2. oriental bittersweet – 1085 reports
  3. glossy buckthorn – 962 reports
  4. perennial pepperweed – 760 reports
  5. Japanese barberry – 637 reports
  6. purple loosestrife – 577 reports
  7. Japanese knotweed – 438 reports
  8. European barberry – 428 reports
  9. coltsfoot – 408 reports
  10. winged burning bush – 407 reports

To see the “cast of characters” and their pretty photos: http://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/

Just when I think I’m on top of the situation in my garden, I’m allerted by my boating friends that they need to stay on top of the highly aggressive aquatic invasive species issued by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Then my arborist tells me that the INVAIDERS/INVASIVES are not just plant life. We’re now encouraged to know where our firewood comes from and be sure not to move it from county to county to keep insect infestations from spreading.

How will I ever remember all these threats to my local habitat, let alone to the bigger environment? I do find that the more I read up on these issues, the more I retain (by osmosis, I guess) and can keep my radar up. It seems that’s the best we can do!

TO LEARN MORE and keep your radar up for invasives…

National Invasive Species Information Center 

What The Nature Conservancy Is Doing

Mass Audubon – Invasive Species in Massachusetts

Controlling Invasive Plants at Home

Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

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One response to “FIELD NOTES: THE INVASIVES – Not a Summer Blockbuster!

  1. Denise-
    great blog posting! Scary to think we have so much to worry about with the various invasives!

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