A recap of early columns, and the next Action Day

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Since October 2019, this column has profiled some of the worst invasive plants plaguing Granby’s fields, farms, forests, and gardens, and described ways to control them. This month’s column reviews in brief the first year of NOT WANTED columns. They are available in greater detail, often with pictures and resources, at GranbyInvasivePlants.weebly.com and also in the Drummer archives.

Granby’s next Invasive Action Day to remove invasive plants and plant alternatives is Saturday, Nov. 13. Invasive Action Days to remove invasive plants and plant alternative natives are held on the second Saturday morning of each month. For more information about invasives and Action Days, drop a note at GranbyInvasivePlants.weebly.com 

Purple Loosestrife, Oct. 2019. Just finished blooming now in wet areas, once loosestrife gets established it explodes, crowding out whole populations of native plants and creating monocultures. The control of loosestrife is known as a partial success story in invasive circles—galerucella beetles can be released to devour loosestrife and only loosestrife.

Japanese Barberry, Nov. 2019. All kinds of barberry are invasive, despite being commonly available for sale. A UConn project has developed a sterile and therefore non-invasive version. Barberry spreads Lyme disease by harboring concentrations of the white-footed mouse that hosts the virus that causes Lyme.

Asiatic Bittersweet, Dec. 2019. The kudzu vine of the north produces striking yellow-red berries in the fall. Unfortunately, using them in holiday decorations helps spread this invasive strangler that destroys many magnificent specimen native trees.

Multiflora Rose, Feb. 2020. Intentionally planted as a living field enclosure for animals, the MF rose aggressively turns fields into impenetrable mazes that crowd out everything—except for equally vigorous bittersweet and barberry.

Garlic Mustard, March 2020. A biennial that’s simple for anyone to pull by the roots throughout its life, Garlic mustard rapidly takes over in open shady areas with thousands of seeds per plant. Some people process the leaves to make a version of pesto.

Japanese Knotweed, April 2020. A fleshy, bamboo-like plant, knotweed makes dense mounds with super-vigorous roots that spread by travelling far underground. Young shoots are reported to be edible, and a tincture can be used to treat advanced Lyme disease.

Autumn Olive, May 2020. With its cousin Russian olive, this small tree with silvery green leaves and yellow-red berries takes over fields and open areas. It was planted intentionally until recently, often along interstate highways, but escapes with the help of birds that eat the berries.

Alternatives to Invasive Plants, June 2020. For each of the seven troublesome invasive plants above, the column lists two to four alternative native plants that are attractive and flourish in similar environments.

Strategies, July 2020. Focusing mostly on non-chemical ways of controlling invasive plants, the column describes strategies like pulling by the roots, cutting before plants flower and set seed, cutting repeatedly over time to deprive the plants’ roots of resources and, when all else fails, careful cut-and-paint use of an herbicide.

Mugwort, Sept. 2020. This relatively recent invasive crisis rapidly takes over sunny areas and roadsides. With towering seed-laden stalks, it creates monocultures by traveling via underground roots, blocking the light other plants need and making the soil toxic to other plants. It’s aromatic and has been used medicinally for centuries.

NOT WANTED is a project of the Granby Conservation Commission.