Author: Lina Swislocki, Invasive Plant Assistant Coordinator
Every month of the growing season (April – September), volunteers across the state collect and report data on invasive plant phenology. Phenology is the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate, and plant and animal life. Within the VT FPR Invasive Plant Program, there is particular interest in the phenology of invasive plants. Knowing how invasive plants behave at different latitudes and elevations across time clarifies how these plants are responding to changes in climate and growing conditions. The information the volunteers collect is tabulated and reported in the monthly FPR Insect & Disease Observation reports, and allows all Vermonters to adjust invasive plant treatment plans accordingly.
There is, however, a gap in this knowledge – data for the months of October – March. Historically, there hasn’t been much to report during this time, since many plant species are dormant during Vermont’s long, cold winters. But as winters are getting warmer and wetter, it may be that more plants (especially invasive ones) become active during these periods. The VT FPR Invasive Plant Program is asking you to send in photos of invasive plants through the winter period to add to the dataset. Your photos can help increase our collective understanding of invasive plant phenology. If you see something, send us something! Pictures and reports can come to firstname.lastname@example.org.