There are two periods in the year when I aggressively attack the invasive shrubs at Blue Jay Barrens. First there is a spring season, which typically begins sometime in February and continues until about the end of April. Next comes the fall season, which begins sometime in August and runs through mid-November. These two periods are ideal for cutting and spraying shrubs because the shrubs are easy to locate and there is minimal chance of trampling nontarget species while searching out the invasive. Today is the last rain free day forecast for the near future, so I’m going to make good use of the dry weather and finish up my spring season cutting and spraying. The photo above shows the most common four invasive shrub species that I deal with. From the left we have Multiflora Rose, Bush Honeysuckle, Autumn Olive, and Japanese Barberry. Those four specimens are also representative of the size that I’m currently treating. The hand pruners on the right have a total length of 8 inches. At least 75% of the invasives I now find are less than 12 inches tall. I’ve finally run out of the big guys.
I’ve also found about a dozen plants of the European Privet. I don’t know where the seed source is for this invasive, but I do know that there are no mature shrubs of this species within the Blue Jay Barrens boundaries.
The source of seed for my four top invasive shrub species is no mystery. All I need to do is look across the property line fence in any direction and I will see mature specimens of each of the local invasive species. I get particularly depressed at this time of year when the fragrance of Autumn Olive blossoms is so heavy in the air it almost makes you choke.
Today I’ll be walking the Indian Grass fields looking for Multiflora Rose. It takes two or three years for the rose plant to grow large enough to be seen in the dead tallgrass stalks. A quick walk through the fields in the spring is all it takes to find the few roses that managed to take hold there. Fortunately, even though some of the plants get rather large, the roses don’t flower until they’ve pushed up out of the grass and into the sunlight. My annual field sweep insures that none of the plants mature enough to produce seed, and that is the key to control.
It’s a little bit discouraging at this time of year when you stop to think that seeds from invasive shrubs will be forever dropped onto Blue Jay Barrens. It helps brighten my mood when I revisit cleared areas previously choked with invasives. A photo taken eight years ago from this location would have produced nothing but a close-up look of a solid screen of Multiflora Rose leaves. Now this site cycles through a variety of native species each year and has a growing population of native rose species moving in. By August I’ll be ready to tackle invasive shrubs again, but for the next few months it’ll be nice to do something different.