The core value of Green Abundance By Design is the maximization of Biodiversity in our landscapes. One of the key ways to maximize diversity is by supporting the growth of native plants.
The problem with Invasive Plants
Invasive plants pose a great risk to the health of our home landscapes and natural environment. Invasive plants, when left unchecked, can quickly colonize an area and displace the native flora that would normally fill the same niche. The problem with this succession is that invasive plants reduce the biodiversity of plant life and as a result reduce the biodiversity of wildlife that our environment can support. If we do nothing, the future diversity of our flora and fauna are in jeopardy.
THE FUTURE NOW
Pictured is the succession of a woodland edge currently being engulfed by Oriental bittersweet. There are only 4 species of plants that dominate this space all of which are invasive and preventing native plant growth.
Methods of Control
With invasive plants, traditional methods of mechanical cut backs, hand pulling/weeding are not enough to help control their growth. While hand pulling can help set back growth of plants like Oriental bittersweet and glossy buck thorn in their immature states, any root material that breaks off in the soil can come back as a new plant. Cutting woody invasive plants alone does little to hinder growth. Cutting woody stems generates multiple new shoots of growth at the cut point and only temporarily interrupts its growth cycle.
Green Abundance does not enjoy the use of synthetic herbicides in our landscape. We clearly see their widespread misuse in the residential and commercial landscape setting. With that said, we understand systemic (root killing) herbicides are often the most effective approach in controlling invasive plant growth. To this end, Green Abundance invests in equipment that allows us to judiciously and precisely paint very small, but focused amounts of systemic herbicide (most often Glyphosate).
The majority of our invasive control methods employ topical foam applications instead of dispersive aerosol applications. The foam carrier removes errant dispersal in the air and creates a higher viscosity to reduce herbicide run off from the plant application site. This allows us to minimize our herbicide use while also protecting nearby native plants from harm.
Green Abundance does not consider Poison Ivy an invasive plant. We consider it problematic to humans. We only look to control its growth in the home landscape where it poses a risk of potential human contact. In this way we work to create a buffer between areas of human traffic and naturalized spaces where we leave poison ivy to grow untouched. The pictures of its control are included as depictions of our painting work and do not reflect an opinion of Poison Ivy being invasive.
The Four Horsemen
Probably the most dangerous threat to our native flora, Oriental Bittersweet’s growth is seemingly boundless. It enjoys a wide range of growing conditions, its fruit easily dispersed by birds. There seems to be no other plant or animal that can stop its growth. Driving down the road, one can see our forests engulfed in their snare and very quickly being choked and pulled down to the ground.
Characterized by pointed oval leaves and orange roots insuring a successful ID if hand pulling.
A vigorous colonizing understory shrub, Glossy Buckthorn spreads as fruit dispersed by birds. Like Bittersweet its tolerance for a wide range of growing conditions and dispersal via birds creates for a large impact on the landscape. Most commonly found on woodland edges or areas of disturbance.
Similar in appearance to native cherries, which upon closer inspection reveals a wider oval leaf and bark that is more spotted rather than lined by white accents.
Native to the much colder regions of scandanavia, the Norway Maple in New England is on a tropical vacation in comparison. Much more vigorous than our native maples due to this adaptive advantage of growing in much harsher conditions. It is quick growing as well as producing a very dense canopy of broad leaves. It also produces an allelopathic chemical in its roots to further reduce competition.
Once commercially cultivated and grown for its vigor and hardiness, it remains a common plant throughout the suburban landscape and has moved into our more natural spaces as a result.
Its leaves are somewhat similar to the native sugar maple leaf, but tend to be broader and produces a milky sap when the leaf stem is broken and squeezed. It also has a tighter bark pattern versus the broader and deeper ridges of the sugar maple.
Winged Bark Euonymus
Another understory shrub that rarely finds a location it doesn’t enjoy. Full sun to full shade, dry to moist it can be found everywhere in our forest and woodland edges. Dispersed by birds its spread is far and wide.
Only recently has the plant been removed from commercial cultivation. Up until 2009 it was commonly planted in landscapes due to it being easily pruned, having brilliant red fall foliage display (hence other common name of Burning Bush), and its general bullet proof nature.
Winged Bark Euonymus is unlikely to be removed from our landscapes due to its historical wide use and continued persistence. At this point it is important to quell new growth in our more naturalized spaces.
Characterized by its opposite patterned elliptical leaves, and the thin ridges along its bark (Winged Bark). It is very easy to spot in the fall as its leaves turn brilliant shades of red.