In the last several months, the Friends have begun a new project in an attempt to draw attention to and show what is possible in the fight to control the growth of invasive plants at Lemoine. We have started to develop a small section into an invasives-free demonstration zone. It’s a 2.3 acre wooded area in Lemoine’s north-east, bordered by Trail #2 starting just north of the parking lot up to where it leads into open meadow. The plan is to control the growth of the three major invasive plants there.
The area is already one of those that our invasives team clears of Garlic Mustard and Dog-strangling Vine, and we will continue to do so as long as necessary to deplete the existing seedbank. The Garlic Mustard in this area is already showing signs of being controlled, whereas of greater concern is the Dog-strangling Vine that grows in its northern tip and is spreading into the rest of the area, because once-established like that it is very difficult to eradicate.
The most challenging invasive in the area is Common Buckthorn. The aggressive shrub-like tree infests the area where it borders the meadow, having already formed a long line of tall, dense thickets along that entire edge, barrier-like and preventing the growth of native forest plants.
Those mature Buckthorn trees needed to be removed first to avoid them producing more seeds. Thus last December, a team of Cataraqui Conservation staff with power saws and Friends volunteers cut down about half of them, the rest to be removed shortly; they were cut down to low stumps, many about four or so inches wide.
Those stumps, if left like that, will re-sprout vigorously and start new thickets. To prevent that, they are elsewhere usually treated with herbicide, but we will achieve the same by using several non-chemical manual methods. One is to regularly trim the re-sprouts over a number of years until the roots gradually weaken and die. Another is to block sunlight from reaching the stumps and providing needed energy, by covering them with black plastic sheets covered by pots or cans to secure them, until with time the roots wear out and stop trying to re-sprout. It will be a lengthy process, but that should mean the end of those mature Buckhorn trees.
In addition to that, we will remove the smaller Buckthorn saplings in the area as well as control the growth of the seedlings that will continue to sprout from the existing seedbank … that too will be a lengthy process requiring ongoing volunteer effort, and anyone interested in helping is asked to email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.