Invasive Species Removal

Another of our goals has been the control of invasive plants, particularly at the Native Plant and Butterfly Trail. Invasive plants likely arrived early on during the secondary succession of the former farm field. Some were mistakenly planted by agencies that were ignorant of the problems they would cause in the future, and yet others spread in on their own.

Crown Vetch in Bloom

 

Crown Vetch

Our biggest problem may be crown vetch. Many people think "the wretched vetch" is our state flower since it is so widely planted along PA roadsides. This vetch readily spreads and smothers any low growing plant that gets in its way.

 

 

 

Autumn Olive

 

Autumn Olive

The second plant on our hit list is Autumn Olive. Supposedly, the Game Commission originally supplied Autumn Olive. Now the birds have taken up where they left off. They eat the tasty fruit and a new bush grows where the birds deposit the seed. These bushes appear to be the most common bush in the park. They take the place of themany native bushes such as the native honeysuckles and viburnums that should be growing here.

 

Multiflora Rose

 

Multiflora Rose

Third on our hit list is the Multiflora Rose. Soil Conservation Services originally pushed these onto farmers in the 1930s for use in erosion control and as a living fence. Unfortunately, it is a living fence not only for livestock, but also for other plants. It fences out other plants by forming dense impenetrable thickets where nothing else can grow.

 

 

 

Garlic Mustard

 

Garlic Mustard

The fourth invasive plant, Garlic Mustard, appeared at the Trail in recent years. This plant is a rapid spreader. Garlic Mustard outcompetes native plants by monopolizing their light, nutrients, soil, and moisture. It may even emit chemicals into the soil to deter the growth of other plants.

 

 

 

Oriental Bittersweet

 

Oriental Bittersweet 

The fifth invasive plant we need to eradicate is Oriental Bittersweet, a native to Eastern Asia, Korea, China and Japan. Oriental bittersweet is an aggressive invader. It grows over other plants, completely covering them, and kills other plants by preventing photosynthesis and girdling them.

 

 

 

These five invasive plants are not the only invasive plants out at the trail by any means. There is also a great deal of Canada Thistle and a few others as well. In 2001-2002 Environmental Biology students from Butler County Community College helped to remove these plants, and the Master Gardeners have been helping to control these species ever since. An annual Garlic Mustard Pull helps to keep the Garlic Mustard at bay. 

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