Invasives in the News

November 14, 2017

Council Member John T. wrote to me after last summer’s ReLeaf Conference. He was surprised that in the conversations he had with other ReLeaf folks, there was little to no awareness of the Asian jumping worm (Amynthas agrestis) and how damaging it is to forests, including, one could assume, the urban forest.

Last summer, for the first time, I noticed that my compost-enriched vegetable garden soil seemed excessively granulated, and the soil was subsiding and drying out faster than usual. Turns out, the granulation was the worm castings of the voracious eater, Amynthas agrestis. I’ve since seen the big worms, and now I shudder when they appear. Read on to see why it’s now my mission to rid my garden of these worms, and why the Asian jumping worm is a concern for foresters throughout much of the country. 

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October 25, 2017

Most of us have become accustomed to seeing Halloween lady beetles, boxelder bugs and western conifer seed bugs on and in our homes in the fall. Here’s a new critter to add to that nuisance list: the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys.  

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October 23, 2017

Water chestnut (Trapa natans) is an established invasive plant that, like many other non-native plants, escaped a cultivated life in the 1870’s to spread and grow into new territories beyond the small garden in which it once existed. Lacking any major herbivores to consume the fruit or plant, its growth consumes wide areas of water, creating impassable dense mats. The establishment of this species, if left unchecked, can severely limit boating, fishing, hunting, swimming, and other recreational activities on the water.  

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October 23, 2017

Wall Lettuce (Mycelis muralis) is an early detection invasive species in Vermont. While not well established, it has the potential to spread quickly and outcompete native flora. It is a watch list species in New Hampshire, soon to be added to the watch list in Vermont, meaning the plant has invasive tendencies but is not yet prohibited.

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Japanese barberry

October 19, 2017

A long-term study of managing Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) shows that clearing the invasive shrub from a wooded area once can lead to a significant reduction in abundance of blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) for as long as six years.

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September 21, 2017

Vermont is losing 1,500 acres of forest a year and New England as a whole is losing nearly 24,000, according to a report released Tuesday by forestry researchers at Harvard University and the University of Vermont.

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August 24, 2017

Have you seen any of your favorite waterbodies in Vermont become infested with invasive species? Perhaps you have seen water chestnut form dense mats over your favorite place to fish, boat, or swim? This is the reality of invasive species – once introduced to a system they are very difficult to eradicate and control. HOWEVER, do not feel helpless! There are many steps that can be taken by individuals, towns, and organizations to stop new aquatic infestations as well as manage current infestations.

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August 24, 2017

Monitoring for and treating invasive terrestrial plants are some of the more important things you can do to take care of Vermont’s working forests and natural areas. Effective July of 2016, yard and leaf debris were banned from landfills, including material from invasive plant control.

For any questions regarding invasive plant disposal, contact the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Waste Management & Prevention Division at: (802) 828-1138, or vtrecycles.com.

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August 21, 2017

A confluence of several events has renewed concerns for the well-being of hemlock trees in Vermont. Read more about why Vermonters should be especially concerned and what you can do to help.

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August 18, 2017

Despite the discouraging discovery of an invasive species near Lake George, the Adirondacks have also seen some recent bright spots in the fight against invasive species.

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August 18, 2017

In this article, Ethan Tapper, the Chittenden County Forester, breaks down the steps in the management of invasive species so that any landowner with an invasive plant problem can have a clear path forward. 

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July 28, 2017

Walk through a hardwood forest this month and it may seem more like October than July. Trees that normally provide cool shade have bare crowns with just a hint of green. And is the bark on that sugar maple moving? This is not a trick of the light: you are, in fact, in the middle of a forest tent caterpillar outbreak.
 

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July 18, 2017

The Japanese barberry tree, a popular landscaping shrub with attractive flowers, was banned from sale in the state of New York in the spring of 2015. The Japanese barberry tree is one of the 11 plants on the state’s banned invasives list, but it will soon be returning to nurseries because of research done by the University of Connecticut. The return will likely take place in the next year.

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July 12, 2017

Woodstock — Consider it an ecological murder mystery.

The Twin States’ red pines are dying, and for the last few years, University of New Hampshire researcher Mike Simmons has been on the case, trekking into the woods to perform autopsies on wooden corpses and taking tissue samples back to the lab for forensic analysis.

When Simmons is out in the field, sometimes he sees stands of majestic, hundred-foot-tall red pines that are barely affected — perhaps a bit of discoloration at the lofty crown, or a few needles dropping off.

Other times it’s a sap bath, with dismembered limbs strewn across the forest floor, and 80 percent of a community of pines dead, skeletons firmly rooted in place and awaiting decay.

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A man inspects his boat for aquatic invasive species

June 27, 2017

A bill recently signed into law by Governor Scott requires watercraft operators to inspect vessels for aquatic invasive species, and also requires livewells, bilge tanks, and other water-holding compartments to be drained prior to out-of-water transport. The new legislation is aimed at further reducing the spread potential of exotic pests that are deleterious to Vermont's aquatic resources.

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