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"....because it is we who decide what plants will grow in our gardens,
the responsibility for our nation's biodiversity lies largely with us."
Douglas Tallamy, author of
'Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants'
Our team is ready to help any citizen of Rockport identify and eliminate invasive plants from their land. In 2017 we worked with about 50 different families.
Give us a call so that we can help you to get started.
Our approach will depend on your situation and preferences. Our primary focus has been to control Japanese Knotweed (often called "bamboo"), Oriental bittersweet, Garlic mustard, Bindweed, and Catchweed bedstraw. Lately we have found many new infestations of Black swallow-wort in town, a particularly aggressive plant.
Sometimes smothering, digging, cutting and careful disposal in the town's trash dumpsters is enough to control an infestation over time. Often we recommend stem painting, stem filling or glove wiping with the wetland-approved version of Roundup. While we would never recommend using this product anywhere near food, we are following the procedures crafted by Mass Audubon and New England Wildflower society to control invasive plants.
When work is within the 100-foot wetland buffer zone, we can often add you to an existing permit with the Rockport Conservation Commission.
Invasive plants are one of the greatest threats to the nature of Massachusetts.
All invasive plants were first introduced to our area by humans as landscape specimens or, in some cases, accidentally. Because they did not evolve in our region, the natural mechanisms that normally control these species in their home ranges don't exist. As a result, these non-native plants can out-compete, displace, and kill our native species.
More than 2,200 plants have been documented in Massachusetts, and some 725 of them are non-natives that are considered naturalized (established). Of those, 69 plant species have been scientifically categorized by the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group (MIPAG) as "Invasive," "Likely Invasive," or "Potentially Invasive."
These invasive species have been banned for importation, propagation, and sale in Massachusetts by the MA Department of Agricultural Resources. (Source: MA Audubon)
Click on the link below to learn about some common invasive plants in Rockport and how to manage them.
How can I Get Rid of It?
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) was brought from eastern Asia as a garden plant. This perennial herb grows up to 10 feet tall, with heart-shaped leaves and white flowers.
It invades a wide variety of habitats and forms dense stands that crowd out other plants. (Source: MA Audobon)
Click on the link below to learn about Treatment Options.
These invasive worms from Asia live at the top of the soil horizon, about 2 inches down. They poop out hard little pellets that do not break down easily. The castings, that look like coffee grounds, lead to poor soil structure and less available organic material for plants.
The worm has a band around the body of the worm called the clitellum. The band completely encircles the body, is milky white to light gray, and is flush with the body.
It is very difficult to remove an invasive species once it is well-established in an ecosystem. Preventing their introduction and reducing their spread are the only two proven forms of management.
Jumping worm adults die after the first freeze. Their cocoons, which are about the size of a poppy seed, will survive the winter and hatch in mid-April. One worm can reproduce on its own and produce many cocoons. The cocoons can survive winter temperatures. A chemical that will kill the eggs has not been identified.
If you have a small population of jumping worms, handpick adult worms by bagging them and throwing them in the trash. A good way to bring them to light is to drench your ground with a mustard solution of one-third cup of dry mustard in one gallon of water. The solution will irritate the worms and bring them to the soil surface. This seems like it would be a good way to determine if you’ve got the worms, too.
The cocoons are extremely sensitive to heat. Any treatment at or above 104°F will kill all jumping worm cocoons in just three days. It’s now good practice to solarize any new soil or compost going into your garden with clear plastic for 3 days.
Our Transfer Station’s compost pile has been measured to maintain temperatures of 130° to 180°. Also regular and aggressive turning of the pile weekly can create an unsatisfactory environment for adult worms.
A complete understanding of this nasty critter is best done by doing your own research. Here’s a good article to start.