Monday, October 13, 2014

Spraying Invasives

While I’m out doing work around the property, I carry a small spray bottle of glyphosate herbicide to use on any invasive shrubs I happen across.  Most of what I find, like this Autumn Olive, is only a year or two old and less than a foot in height.
Occasionally, I’ll find larger specimens.  This Autumn Olive was three feet tall and growing in a place that I frequently visit. When I find something like this, I always wonder how it was overlooked earlier.

Here’s a possible explanation.  A look at the base of the plant shows evidence of its having been browsed heavily at some time in the past.  Deer often eat young Autumn Olive right down to the ground.  The plant responds by sending up new shoots. 

A few inches above ground is more sign of deer browse.  In between cuttings, the shrub increases its root mass, so regrowth is more rapid after each occurrence.  I could easily have overlooked the plant after its pruning by the deer.  It doesn’t stay hidden forever though.

A clean cut at ground level and a dab of glyphosate applied to the wound means that this shrub will not be making another comeback.  I should clarify that glyphosate was applied only to the stump.  Everything else in the photo is wet because of a rain that had just ended less than an hour earlier.

Some of the Japanese Barberry that I find is more mature than most of the other invasives of similar size.  Being a smaller statured plant, by the time it’s large enough to be easily seen, it could be old enough to produce fruit.  I’m trying hard to keep the invasive shrubs from producing fruit.  I believe that birds feeding on the fruit of invasives will spend most of their time in the vicinity of that food source and are most likely to deposit the seeds of those species in the same area.  I know that there will always be some seeds of invasive shrubs dropped within the boundaries of Blue Jay Barrens, but by denying the birds the opportunity to dine on those same fruits here, the incidence of seed drop will be reduced.

Multiflora Rose seedlings are still commonly found.  The greatest incidence of these seedlings is in areas that once supported thickets of mature rose bushes.  It may take a few years for the collection of seed in these areas to diminish.

Even if I have to deal with a scattering of seedlings each year, these sites are looking much improved over the days when they were a solid Multiflora Rose monoculture.

Large rose canes are now those of native roses.  Native rose seedlings are also becoming more numerous.

Most of the Bush Honeysuckle is small enough to be pulled root and all from the ground.  It’s becoming rare to find any of this species large enough to require a cut and spray.

I was surprised when I pulled on a small Bush Honeysuckle and came up with this previously cut stump.

I remember when this was originally cut two years ago.  A large tree limb had fallen on the shrub and forced the branches to radiate horizontally from the center.  New shoots came up from the horizontal branches as well as the center of the plant.  To assure a good kill, I levered the stump out of the ground and treated the cut roots left behind.  The stump, left on the ground, sent out new roots and began to grow anew.

I set the stump in the branches of a fallen cedar.  This will allow it to dry out and die.

Just to be sure, I cut the sprouts and gave them a shot of glyphosate.  I certainly don’t want to come out and find this thing continuing to grow. 

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