Wow this rain is welcome, but I do like those quick peeks of sunshine! We’ve been working on our lawn trying to establish some northeastern mix of turf grass. If I had my way, I’d plant a lot more native grasses and possibly put a nice border of buffalo grass in some areas. However, my spouse likes the green lawn look. The rainy weather makes it easier to pull the unwelcome weeds out by the root and expose some also unwanted grubs for the new chickens we have. While dandilions may be considered weeds, they are not invasive species that will kill native species and starve the local wildlife. So I don’t mind if I leave a few around. What I am concerned about is the young Oriental Bittersweet I have found slowly wrapping itself around a young sapling. This invasive vine, also known by its scientific name as Celastrus orbiculatus, is common in Derry as is a few other invasives (such as Japanese Knotweed and Burning Bush, to name two). By definition, an invasive species (plant or animal) is one that is introduced, has no natural “enemies” to curb its population, and doesn’t offer any benefit to the local wildlife. It will overtake an area and as a result, kills off the native plants and animals. Why is this our problem? Well it is actually a lot of people’s problem. Once it is in your neighbor’s yard, then it will be in yours overtaking trees and landscaping. How did these plants and animals get here? Well for Oriental Bittersweet, it was introduced in the 1860’s as an ornamental plant. Other invasives got established because they were thought to be good for erosion control. No matter, it is here and we have to serve as its population control. The best way, of course, is to pull out the plant – root and all. But if any root parts are left, it can often lead to reinfestation. Chemical controls (see the UNH Extension website for more information) are excellent ways to kill off the invasive species, but be aware that living in NH means that we live near a watershed and herbicides can be harmful if not illegal to use in certain areas. Please read the labels and use appropriately. If you want to get some first hand experience and help out Go Green and the Derry Conservation Commission, please join us on May 19th at the Shepard Conservation Area at 9 AM. We will have an expert there, plenty of tools, and coffee, of course! Be sure to wear bug spray and have a pair of heavy duty work gloves, too. We could use all the help we can get and you might just learn how to identify and get rid of the invasives in your own yard!