Originally published in the Lathrop Lamp Post for Nov. 3-9, 2018
As invasive burning bushes (also called winged euonymus) turn red in fall, we can see how pervasive they are in our campus gardens and landscaping, and how they are invading our woods, reducing wildlife.
Since 2013, we’ve been removing burning bushes from our “free fifty” invasives-free wooded acres on both campuses, turning our forests back to native plants. Burning bush wood is great for turning on a lathe, so, from our largest cut-down bushes, resident Doris Atkinson has turned out beautiful Christmas tree ornaments. A goal of Lathrop’s landscape policy is to steadily turn our campuses into more wildlife-friendly places, without invasive plants, so Doris will have to turn to another source for her turning wood.
First printed in Lathrop Lamp Post Nov. 11-17, 2017
This photo was taken on the east campus along Bassett Brook Road at the corner of Huckleberry Lane–a visible “front line” on our property.
Three years ago, on this corner, there was a dense hedge of burning bush (Euonymus alatus), so dangerously invasive it is now illegal to propagate or sell in Massachusetts. At Lathrop, birds are carrying it into our woods, where it is crowding out native plants without providing as richly for our wildlife as native plants do, and costing Continue reading Reports from the Front Lines→
Yikes! This fall, you can clearly see how Lathrop’s woods are being invaded by alien shrubs and vines: the bright red of burning bush, the yellow-green of bush honeysuckle, the prickly multiflora rose and barberry, the orange berries of Oriental bittersweet vine. These plants still have leaves in fall when natives have gone dormant. They have left behind the competitors and enemies that control them in their native lands, so they can take over a woods, creating an impenetrable mass that supports many fewer insects, birds, and other wildlife than native plants.
We’re making progress against these invasives! The Land Conservation Subcommittee, working with Lathrop management, has a plan, a set of priorities, some money, and a contractor. Here is what is happening now: Continue reading Progress Against Invasive Plants→