invasive plants

Put Invasive Plants on a Starvation Diet This Year

Japanese barberry

It's March, and I'm back to the annual ritual of cutting woody invasive plants to the ground. March, April, and May are "prime time" for a technique called carbohydrate starvation (a.k.a. root depletion). My top target is Japanese barberry at a local state forest where I volunteer. Other bad actors include burning bush, privet, autumn olive, and multiflora rose. 

The photo on the right is from the first day of cutting an area three years ago. 

Time to Rethink Invasive Plants

Japanese barberry infestation

As someone who works in the land care business, I’m caught in an endless game of whack-a-mole. Between spotted lantern flies and jumping worms, from knotweed to tree-of-heaven, who needs Halloween or a scary movie? I wonder: Are there more systematic, less fatiguing ways to think about the problem of invasive plants? (Link above.)

A Weed by Any Other Name

Multiflora rose is a state-listed invasive plant.

"What's in a name?" A fictional young woman named Juliet once asked that question. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," she says. 

But what if the rose is a non-native invasive plant?

“Multiflora rose is an aggressive, stubborn landscape invader with recurved thorns along the green stems,” says Rose Hiskes, a diagnostician at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and co-chair of the Connecticut Invasive Plants Working Group (CIPWG). “And it’s a state-listed invasive plant.”

Getting Into the Weeds With Invasive Plant Management

Charlotte Pyle and Donna Ellis teach about invasive plant management.

They were innocent-looking seedlings in June, but by the end of August, most weeds are like toddlers on a tantrum—you can't ignore them. Japanese stiltgrass, mugwort, and more all seem to say, "In your face, weed whacker.” 


These unwanted plants are irritating and inconvenient, but their damage extends far beyond the emotions of landowners who wish the weeds would just go away. Unfortunately, invasive plant management is a year-round job and a sometimes perplexing one.

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