Attention landscaping professionals, landowners, road crews, gardeners, environmental enthusiasts and more; Friends of the Mad River welcomes you to a presentation and community discussion on the thorny subject of invasive plants. The event will feature an informative presentation by Sharon Plumb, invasive species coordinator for The Nature Conservancy of Vermont; and will take place at the 1824 House on Tuesday, April 28 at 6:30 pm. This event is free and refreshments will be provided! Additionally, an invasive plant bake-off competition will be held, to be judged by localvore leader Robin McDermott. Have a go at cooking a dish with Japanese knotweed; it will be fun and you may win a prize!
Exotic plants are widely used in flower gardens, landscaping and as
food crops. Most of these non-native plants do not pose a problem
because they more or less stay where they are planted. Furthermore, if
you decide that you no longer want them, you can take them out. When
you put them in the compost, they die. Invasive plants, however, are
those that can get out of control. They don’t stay put, they are
difficult to get rid of, and sometimes they can use your compost pile
as a convenient mode of transport!
invasives arrive unwittingly, often the result of long distance
transport of goods. Many arrive intentionally for horticultural
purposes. Japanese knotweed, which now grows prolifically along the
Mad River and in some upland areas, was brought to the U.S. as an
ornamental plant. It escaped cultivation and spread profusely. Case
studies of knotweed eradication programs show that efforts to remove it
are very costly, require a long-term commitment, and most often involve
the use of herbicides. Even so, success has been limited. On the
brighter side, there is still time to prevent the invasions of some of
the other invasive ornamentals that are currently wreaking havoc on
other areas of the Northeast. Burning bush, barberry, and Norway maple
are examples of potentially invasive species which are planted around
homes and around town. These species are not yet heavily established as
invasives in the Mad River Valley, however they are spreading and pose
a very real threat to our forest ecosystems. The most efficient way to
prevent the spread of invasive species is to stop intentionally
planting them. Additionally, early detection and removal of small
patches that have escaped cultivation is preferable to waiting for the
problem to take root and grow.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has been working for decades to protect natural ecosystems. They are at the forefront of the effort to stop the spread of invasive species. The Wise on Weeds! (WOW!) initiative, a program of the Vermont Chapter of TNC, promotes awareness and provides information about using non-invasive alternatives for ornamental plants around homes, businesses and public places. Their motto is “Recognize, Remove, and Replant.” Many have joined this movement by removing invasive plants from their landscaping and replacing them with non-invasive alternatives. Several schools, businesses and public places have become “demonstration sites” of invasive-free landscaping. Wise on Weeds! presentations are held across the state to share information about invasive plants and to provide guidance on removal methods and more. We hope that you will attend the presentation on April 28, at the 1824 House.
Difficult problems such as these need community wide solutions. Come learn about invasives and share your concerns and ideas. We hope that the discussion following the presentation will help to identify actions, however large or small, that we can take to stop the spread of invasives in the Mad River Valley and guide community efforts to protect the native vegetation and the ecosystems that we love.