Thursday, June 2, 2011

Invasive Species Control

Removing invasive plants can sometimes just give you a better view of the invasive plants growing behind. When I removed the rose thicket over the winter, I stopped clearing at the grown up fence row. The fence row will get cleared after I’ve searched through and removed the old wire and other items that seem to accumulate along fence rows. With the thicket removed, I get a much better look at what I’ll eventually be dealing with.

Of course, there are a few rose bushes in there. The attractive flowers and heavy fragrance do nothing to keep me from wanting them all gone. I know that there will always be some Multiflora Roses growing at Blue Jay Barrens. New seeds are constantly being brought in and small sprouts keep enlarging into bush size.

It’s not my goal to eliminate the roses. That would be an impossible goal. I’m only trying to control them. By control, I mean to keep the effects of their intrusion to a minimum. When I can walk around Blue Jay Barrens at this time of year and not see any blooming roses, I’ll have reached the control goal. I’m very close to that point now.

While I’m busy getting rid of roses, other invasive plants are trying to take hold. Japanese Honeysuckle has taken advantage of the shield of rose bushes to climb high into the trees. When I work on Japanese Honeysuckle control, my first goal is to get it out of the trees. It’s hard to deal with something you can’t reach, so I want to get it all down to my level.

Honeysuckle flowers combine with those of Multiflora Rose to fill the air with sweetness. Some people cherish the fragrance. That means I sometimes have to be somewhat secretive when controlling these plants, especially near the road where I can be seen.

Japanese Honeysuckle is a rapidly growing vine that sprawls across the ground as well as climbs any vertical structure. It’s most effective means of killing competing vegetation is to block the sunlight from plants beneath it. The leaves form a thick mat with their upper surface facing the sun. In doing this they create a screen that blocks the light as effectively as a blackout curtain.

Woody vegetation is often killed when girdled by the vines and the weight of the massed vines can bring a tree to the ground. I look forward to the day when I’ll have to leave Blue Jay Barrens in order to see Japanese Honeysuckle or Multiflora Rose flowers.

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