Oh so sweet… or bittersweet.

This year we’ve been focusing on the soil – what is in it, how we treat it, and what grows from it.  This post, in particular, is about the bitterness of battling those invasive plant species.  I’m not referring to those annoying “weeds” in our lawns (dandelions and crab grass are not invasive, just trying to replace the unnatural prairie in our front yards… and not all but some species are actually native!).  The battle we really need to be participating in is that with the non-native, invasive plants that don’t show up so obviously in our yards, but rather take over our natural landscapes.

While there are many, we will try to focus on some of those that are easy to identify, relatively able to battle with, and some that have not yet established themselves so that we might win!

With that said, my first suggestion is with Oriental Bittersweet.  This vine will take over any plant or tree and readily kills it.  Once you can recognize it, you will notice it along our roadways and in your own garden.  But do not despair.  This tough vine will eventually give up as long as you don’t.  Always the best approach to all invading materials is the mechanical removal of them.  The oriental bittersweet will regenerate from any fragment of root, but over time, if you continue to stress this plant and pull as much of it out each spring/fall, then you will win!  Herbicides are not something we want to promote as so many of our Derry residents live near water.  And they really aren’t effective since it is the root system which is most viable and nothing sprayed on the leaves will reach the roots unless it is in the Fall at the right time.

So learn to spot the spindly vine and pull it out by the root as much as possible.  Throw the plant parts in a garbage bag (not in a brush pile or compost bin as it will just grow there next year!).  Finally, spread some grass seeds on the disturbed soil to prevent any other opportunistic plant to take over.

Here are some photos of what that spindly vine looks like right about now in the growing season.  Also, some other photos of what bittersweet can and will do to your trees and landscape.

oriental-bittersweet-09736Oriental_Bittersweet5bittersweet taking over trees

Please email us with any specific questions or comments : judy@go-green-derry.org

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