It is Invasive Species Awareness Week!

Posted on: July 15th, 2016 by Caroline Stupple

Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week (ISAW) is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between mul­ti­ple region­al, state, and fed­er­al agen­cies. ISAW seeks to enhance aware­ness of inva­sive species and pro­vide peo­ple with tools for man­age­ment. Local­ly, through­out the Catskill area, the Catskill Region­al Inva­sive Species Part­ner­ship (CRISP) pro­vides edu­ca­tion­al mate­r­i­al and sup­port for inva­sive species removal. A focal species for man­age­ment has been Japan­ese knotweed.

Japan­ese Knotweed was intro­duced to the Unit­ed States some­time in the late 1800s and was tout­ed as an excel­lent gar­den orna­men­tal plant. It was soon iden­ti­fied as an inva­sive species due to its aggres­sive spread through­out and beyond the region of intro­duc­tion and its ten­den­cy to out­com­pete native plant species.  In Ulster Coun­ty, though we are not alone in this strug­gle, we have seen the tremen­dous spread of knotweed espe­cial­ly along stream sides. Its migra­tion is high­ly effi­cient along these buffer zones due to its abil­i­ty to reestab­lish a new stand from a small root frag­ment washed down­stream.

 

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Japan­ese knotweed stand along left side of stream. Pho­to by Ulster Coun­ty Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict.

 

Knotweed can be iden­ti­fied by its large heart-shaped leaves, hol­low bam­boo-like stalks, and the clus­ter of white or cream col­ored flow­ers. Stands of knotweed are immense­ly dif­fi­cult and time con­sum­ing to erad­i­cate, how­ev­er, it can be man­aged with vig­i­lance and patience. Among oth­er man­age­ment plans, CRISP sug­gests rou­tine and con­tin­u­ous removal of knotweed stands or her­bi­cide injec­tions into the stocks.  Man­u­al removal of knotweed can be time con­sum­ing, as removals must reoc­cur 2–3 times every year for 3 or more years. Addi­tion­al­ly, due to the ease with which knotweed spreads the herba­ceous mate­r­i­al must be dis­posed of prop­er­ly; dis­pos­al includes let­ting the mate­r­i­al dry out and burn­ing it when dried. Injec­tion of the her­bi­cide is also time con­sum­ing and may not be prac­ti­cal for a large knotweed stand. The her­bi­cide must be inject­ed into each stalk at approx­i­mate­ly the 3rd node on the stalk dur­ing the late sum­mer and ear­ly fall months.

The bat­tle against Japan­ese knotweed is best fought on many fronts and with coor­di­na­tion and efforts from as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. If you would like to know more about how you can help with Japan­ese knotweed erad­i­ca­tion and man­age­ment in your area, or would like to learn more about oth­er inva­sive species in the area, please click here to be direct­ed to the CRISP web­site. If you would like to learn more about the annu­al Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week and to get more infor­ma­tion about New York inva­sive species, please click here.

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