For Lamp Post “Easy Being Green” for Sept. 3, 2014
Here’s How YOU Can Remove Invasives
Barbara Walvoord, For Lamp Post, September 10, 2014
Our hedges and woods are being invaded by alien plants that want to take over, destroying the native plants on which our insects, birds, and other creatures depend. Remember our killer statistic: 96% of birds need insects, not just seeds and pollen, to feed their young. 90% of insects eat only native plants (Douglas Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home).
Now through mid-winter is the best time to remove invasive shrubs and vines. Consultants this summer have helped us identify the main ones at Lathrop:
- Oriental Bittersweet vine (Celastrus orbiculatus)
- Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
- Japanese Barberry (Berberis Thunbergii)
- Bush Honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.)
- Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
- Buckthorn (common and glossy. Rhomnus cathartica, Frangula alnus)
Lathrop residents have been attacking aliens like bittersweet in our trees for many years. Since I began keeping records in 2013, Lathrop resident volunteers that the Committee knows about have removed 6,960 invasive plants on both campuses, including shrubs and vines (as well as purple loosestrife blooms and garlic mustard). See our record at https://lathropland.wordpress.com/accomplishments/invasives-removal-record/. If you remove invasive plants, LET ME KNOW at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me how many plants, where, when, and who.
There’s a great federal government website with detailed photos and descriptions for identifying plants and removing them: http://na.fs.fed.us/spfo/invasiveplants/factsheets/index.asp. In brief, here’s what to do:
Merely cutting them only encourages them to grow back. Instead, use a lopper or tree saw to cut them off near the ground. Then IMMEDIATELY (within 10 minutes) paint each stump with a 25% glyphosate solution (you can use Roundup Concentrated. Sharon’s and my bottle is 18% solution, but it has seemed to work okay.) Glyphosate is judged by many experts as the least harmful herbicide for this purpose and is widely used by conservationists. At this time of year, the plant is drawing down nutrients from its branches into its roots; it draws down the glyphosate, which interferes with the plant’s metabolism.
To paint the stumps, Sharon Grace and I use an eyedropper in a small glass bottle we purchased online. We like this better than the paintbrush or spray bottle, but you can use those, too. The idea is to hit the stump, not the surrounding vegetation or ground, because glyphosate will kill anything it hits and because it can harm insects and others.
The law allows you to use herbicides in this way if you follow the bottle directions and if you stay at least 100′ away from a wetland or stream. Wear gloves.
It’s okay to leave the cut stems in the woods. However, we have found that, especially for honeysuckle and rose, the cut branches may reroot, so hang them on a tree or stack them on fallen branches so they are off the ground.