Fighting the Alien Invaders

Japanese honeysuckle is very pretty and it has a sweet fragrance.  That is probably why gardeners planted it all over the East Coast.  I suppose its robust vigor was also a factor, but it is precisely that aggressive robustness that makes it such a formidable invasive species.

I didn’t hardly even notice it growing on the CP last year, as I pulled down the trumpet and grape vines.  But these earlier infestations were small potatoes compared to the Japanese honeysuckle, which seems to have grown exponentially this spring.  That’s the way exponential growth works.  As it doubles and redoubles, you don’t see it until it is too late to stop before it covers everything.  Well, it isn’t quite that bad, but I can’t just let it stand.  I ordered some “Chopper Gen2 and next week the boys and I will go and address the problem using the backpack sprayers.

Chopper Gen2 has evidently replaced Arsenal AC in the constellation of BasF forestry management products.  I have been reading about vegetation control.  The Japanese honeysuckle has to be controlled; otherwise it will climb and bend the trees.  If we set it back this year and maybe next, the trees will be big enough to mostly shade it out.  We have more or less defeated the tree-of-heaven infestation.  There still are a few of them cropping up and we can zap them with Chopper too. BTW – the picture along side is a tree-of-heaven in Old Salem.  This is the biggest I have seen. They are not bad looking trees and are fine – in their place, which isn’t in the woods.

I was hoping to burn out the honeysuckle, but the guys at the tree farm committee told me it would be a bad idea.  My trees are still a little too small.  A prescribed fire could work, but any bad luck might kill half my trees.  It isn’t worth the risk.  I got enough chopper for the whole farm for just over $200, so along with my in-house labor force, waging chemical warfare against the invasive species will be the way to go.  My research shows that Chopper Gen2 is much better than the first generation, both in its effectiveness and it benign environmental impacts.  It also gives the kids some stake in the place.  Espen and Alex still brag about their hard work in fighting against the tree-of-heaven and setting down the streambed rip-rap.

Invasive species are one of the most threatening environmental problems we face. They have a greater impact than the projected consequences of global warming, but it is not as cool to “rock against” honeysuckle or phragmites.  Most gardeners are complicit in the invasion.  I planted some wisteria on the mailbox shelter across the street from my house.  It looks good and grows well.  Many of the invaders are indeed better than the natives, but they can get out of hand.