Invasive Plants Team

About Us

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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.


Co-Chairs:  


  • Nan Blue 978-546-9755 
  • Laura Hallowell 978-546-2405



Our Approach

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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.

What is Japanese Knotweed?

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Originally imported as an ornamental in the late 1800s, Japanese knotweed was recognized decades later as one of the most tenacious, aggressive, and invasive plants ever imported to the Western Hemisphere. 


 Knotweed is a large, clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with 4- to 12-foot-tall canes giving a bamboo like appearance. Knotweed displaces native vegetation due to its aggressive growth. It forms dense stands that crowd out all other vegetation, degrading native plant and animal habitat. It is difficult to control because of extremely vigorous rhizomes that form a deep, dense mat. It can grow through asphalt. If attempts are made to dig it up, plants can resprout from stem or root fragments. Seeds and fragments will sprout on damp earth. New roots can reach out to 60 feet or more and grow through asphalt and even into houses. 


Eliminating knotweed will be a long-term process with repeated effort for several years. We will coach you through the process. Through education and identification and community-wide efforts, we hope one day Rockport will become free of this noxious weed. 

Treatment Options

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Knotweed can be controlled by both chemical and mechanical methods. In both cases, any effort on a particular plot needs to be continued for a minimum of five years because shoots can appear up to 60 feet away from the dormant root systems.

The root systems often extend ten feet deep underground. Knotweed spreads mainly from small and large fragments of stems and roots (rhizomes); the seeds are usually sterile. This means that all cuttings of knotweed must be incinerated no matter which general method is undertaken.

Knotweed must be discarded with general incinerated trash, never added to the compost pile. Large canes do not need to be bagged, but it is a good idea to bag small pieces to keep them from spreading. 

Watch this Space for Projects

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Slide Show

Invasive plant alert from the Invasive Plants Team

Black Swallow-Wort Alert (pdf)

Download