Lathrop Volunteers and Professionals Attack Invasives

by Barbara Walvoord

If you East campus folks heard chain saws last week out in the woods, that was our crew of workers from Polatin Ecological Services, removing invasive shrubs from several high-priority areas of our land. This work is part of a 3-year plan funded by a grant from the Kendal Charitable Fund and by individual resident donations. North campus, you are part of the plan, so this winter or next spring, you’ll hear the chain saws, too.

AND–if you heard the snick of hand loppers and the rasp of hand-held tree saws, along with some grunts, creaking knees, and shouts of triumph, that was our intrepid group of 7 east campus residents who gathered on Thursday, Nov. 20, to remove invasive honeysuckle, buckthorn, and vines from the woods along Bassett Brook Road.

The volunteers cleared about 52 invasives from the edge of the woods, starting at the Inn, and going all the way to the corner of Bassett Brook and Mulberry. We let the Polatin crew, with their chain saws and protective clothing, go after the thickets of sharp-thorned multiflora rose along Mulberry Lane.

invasives Chris Nov 14 018

The very good news is that, while the edges of this woodland were invaded, the middle is quite pristine, and we stopped the invasives from moving farther in.

When native shrubs replace those invasives, that area of our land will support many more insects, birds, and other wildlife. It will demonstrate to residents and visitors that we at Lathrop take seriously our stewardship of this precious land.

So as you walk down Bassett Brook and Mulberry now, look into the woods and see what we’ve accomplished–no more yellow-green leaves of invasive honeysuckle leaves. (One reason to attack honeysuckle now is that it keeps it leaves beyond most natives, so is easily visible.) No more red of burning bush. No more huge vines smothering the trees. No more thickets of thorny rose. Piles of cut and shredded branches. (We did not spend the money to have these branches chipped; they will be hidden by other vegetation come spring, and will slowly rot in the woods and enrich the soil.)

You can walk into the woods, too–it’s very beautiful and peaceful– but use tick protection, because the little buggers are out there despite the cold.

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