Archive for the ‘Replacing Invasives with natives’ Category

Creating Suitable Habitats for Bees and Promoting Native Plant Species

Honey bees have received a lot of attention in the media lately, and their decline is a great cause of concern for agriculturists, beekeepers, and the pollinator dependent environment at large. However, native pollinators such as butterflies, birds, bats, native bee species, and other insects are at risk from pesticide usage and a decline in suitable habitat as well. There are more than 4,000 species of bees native to North America, with over 300 found in Pennsylvania. Unlike honey bees, which are found predominantly in managed bee houses, most bee species live in the ground, or in dead wood, and crevices between rocks.

Guidelines for providing natural, native bee nesting sites. Different native bee species will utilize different habitat types, and a variety of possibilities should be offered to attract a variety of bees.

  • Small areas of bare ground surrounded by weedy vegetation
  • Well drained soil on flat or sloping surfaces
  • Dry, dead wood with holes from beetles or other burrowing species
  • mounds of sandy soil
  • well drained soil protected by loose networks of sticks and brush
  • all nesting areas should be within range of foraging habitat (native flowering plants)


Active Sweat Bee Burrow (Just Missed Him) – Ryan Fantasia

 


Potential Nesting Site: Area frequented by bumblebees – Ryan Fantasia

Wood pile by compost and Exposed Weedy Area: Frequented By a
number of bee species (they seem to enjoy the aluminum ladder too) –
Ryan Fantasia

Some bee species that tend to be more colonial than solitary, like some bumblebee species, will also inhabit home-made bee boxes.

The Xerces Society offers a number of guidelines for maintaining and creating your own nesting sites in this fact sheet: Nests for Native Bees
Pollinator Friendly Lawns

Lush green lawns consisting of just one species of turf grass may look great to humans, but they offer little or no benefit to most bee species. Bare spots encourage nesting habitats for ground dwelling bees, and the flowerless lawn does not provide much of a food source for any bee species.

Some tips for making your lawn more pollinator friendly:

  • Use mixed grass seeds with species such as clover, trefoil, and other low growing, flowering ground cover
  • Eliminate use of conventional grub and insect control chemicals such as pyrethroids and imidacloprid (see the active ingredients in your pesticides and fertilizers!)
  • allow flowering weeds to flourish (they cover your lawn just as well as turf grass does)
  • keep some areas “low traffic” to minimize disruption of ground nesting bees

Native Perennial Flowering Species

In addition to adding clover and other low growing plants to lawns, another solution is to cut back on your lawn area altogether. Native flowering plant species are an excellent source of nourishment and habitat for pollinators and other native insects that can keep pests at bay, and trading some lawn area or exotic flowers for a bed of native perennials can provide greater aesthetic and ecological value to your property.

Planting native species helps to ensure that your work will not go to waste, as they are well adapted to the conditions in your area. Most bee populations have evolved with the native flora, and sometimes one plant species is dependent almost exclusively on a certain bee species, and vice versa.

 

Check out Northeast Natives and Perennials to purchase native species for your yard, right here in Haycock Twp!

 

The Xerces Society For Invertebrate Conservation offers information on Flowering Species and other resources for promoting bee habitats through their Pollinator Conservation Resource Center Website: http://www.xerces.org/pollinator-resource-center/

 

Through partnerships with the native seed industry, Xerces also offers seed mixes for native wildflowers and grasses that promote pollinator habitat: http://www.xerces.org/pollinator-seed/

 

Information on pollinator attracting plant species native to specific regions available through: Local USDA Cooperative Extensions: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

 

Native Flower Bearing Plants For Native Bee Species – PA and NJ

Penn State University. (2009). Agroecology in Practice: Conserving Wild Bees in Pennsylvania.

Full Fact Sheet available at: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/uf023.pdf

 

 


✝ The USDA-NRCS plants database lists Crisium discolor, a native field thistle, as potentially weedy or invasive. Though you should not encourage large populations, it is a valuable pollinator foraging resource and can be managed as such. Its seeds are not commercially available.
Photograph Credits: Elaine Haug @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Lobelia spicata, Asclepias syriaca, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium) Patrick J. Alexander @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Apocynum cannabinum) Jeff McMillian @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Erigeron strigosus, Prunella vulgaris Jim Stasz @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Scutellaria integrifolia, Verbena hastata) Seabrooke Leckie (Solidago odora) Thomas Barnes (University of Kentucky) @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS (Agalinis purpurea, Cirsium discolor) William Justice @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS (Vernonia noveboracensis) Janet Novak @ Connecticut Botanical Society (Eupatorium maculatum) Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Euthamia graminifolia) http://www.botanik.uni-karlsruhe.de/garten/fotos-hassler/ (Potentilla norvegica)
Bryn Mawr College and Rutgers University. (May 2009). Native Bee Benefits for Pennsylvania and New Jersey Farmers. Pg 6
Full fact-sheet available at: www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/pa-nj-native-bee-benefits1.pdf

Native Plant Sale – 25% off NWF members

Northeast Natives & Perennials Announces End of Season Special
 
Carol Schroding, owner of Northeast Natives & Perennials here in Haycock, announced her end of season special which will run from now (8/12/11) until her last day for the season, Saturday, Sept. 17th.   Everything in stock will be 20% OFF our already low prices, with a special additional 5% OFF for anyone who has certified their Haycock Property with the NWF as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat!  If you haven’t already done so, I have applications at the nursery and can help with requirements and suggestions.   You can also complete it online and bring your certification number with you to qualify for your 25% OFF.  Join in the initiative to have our community be the first in PA to certify as a Community Wildlife Habitat!
 
Fall is a wonderful time to plan and plant perennials and still lots of nice weather time for them to get established. 
How exciting to look forward to next season and know that they are already in the ground, just waiting to emerge in the spring!   We still have many wonderful native plants in stock, so shop early for the best selection. 
 
We are located at 1716 E. Sawmill Rd.  (215)901-5552www.nenativesandperennials.com.  
Our hours are Thursday,Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm.  
 

Plant List for 2011 End of Season Sale

(Now through Sept. 17th  While Supplies Last!)

Herbaceous Perennials range in price from $6. – $14.

Trees and Shrubs range in price from $12. – $35.

Everything in stock is 20% OFF OR

25% OFF with your proof of certification as a NWF Backyard Wildlife Habitat! 

Perennials

Actaea pachypoda                              Dolls Eyes

Adiantum pedatum                            Maidenhair Fern

Agastache foeniculum                       Anise Hyssop/Purple Hyssop

Allium cernuum                                 Nodding Onion

Amsonia hubrechtii                           Blue Star

Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’                           ‘Blue Ice’ Blue Star

Aquilegia canadense                         Wild Columbine

Arisaema triphyllum                         Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Aruncus dioicus                                Goatsbeard

Asarum canadense                            Wild Ginger

Asclepias incarnata                           Swamp Milkweed

Asclepias tuberose                            Butterfly Weed

Asclepias verticillata                        Whorled Milkweed

Aster cordifolius                               Heart-leaved Aster

Aster divaricatus                              White Wood Aster

Aster dumosus ‘Woods Pink’          ‘Woods Pink’ Aster

Aster oblongifolius                           Aromatic Aster ‘Raydon’s Favorite’

Athyrium Filix-femina                     Lady Fern

Boltonia asteroides ‘Snowbank’      White Boltonia

Boltonia asteroides ‘Pink Beauty’    Pink Boltonia

Carex pensylvanica                          Pennsylvaniasedge

Caullophylum thalictroides              Blue Cohosh

Chelone lyonni ‘Hot Lips’               Pink Turtlehead

Chelone glabra                                 White Turtlehead

Chrysogonum virginianum              Gold Star

Chrysopsis villosa                            Hairy Golden Aster

Coreopsis rosea                                Pink Tickseed

Delphinium exaltatum                     Tall Larkspur

Dicentra eximia                                Fringed Bleeding Heart

Dryopteris marginalis                      Eastern Wood Fern

Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Star’     Purple Coneflower ‘Ruby Star’

Echinacea p. ‘White Swan’            ‘White Swan’ Coneflower

Eryngium yuccifolium                      Snakemaster

Eupatorium maculatum ‘Little Joe’  Joe Pye Weed ‘Little Joe’

Filipendula rubra                               Queen of the Prairie

Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’     Wild Geranium ‘Espresso’

Gillenia stipulata                                         American Ipecac

Helenium autumnale                                   Autumn Sneezeweed

Helianthus angustifolius ‘Gold Lace’         Swamp Sunflower ‘Gold Lace’

Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Sun’      Oxeye Daisy ‘Summer Sun’

Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Nights’  Oxeye Daisy ‘Summer Nights’

Hepatica acutiloba                                      Sharp-lobed hepatica

Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’               ‘Autumn Bride’ Coral Bells

Iris versicolor                                              Northern Blue Iris

Iris cristata                                                  Dwarf Crested Iris

Jeffersonia dyphylla                                    Twinleaf

Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’                              Blazing Star

Lobelia cardinalis                                        Cardinal Flower

Lobelia cardinalis ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’  Cardinal Flower ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’

Lobelia siphilitica                                        Great Blue Lobelia

Maianthemum canadense                            Canada Mayflower

Matteuccia strutheropteri                             Ostrich Fern

Meehania cordata                                        Meehan’s Mint

Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’                   Bee Balm ‘Jacob Cline’

Monarda Fistulosa                                       Wild Bee Balm

Osmunda cinnamonea                                 Cinnamon Fern

Osmunda regalis                                          Royal Fern

Pachysandra procumbens                            Allegheny Spurge

Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’               Switchgrass ‘Heavy Metal’

Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’                Switchgrass ‘Shenandoah’

Penstemon canescens                                  Gray Beard Tongue

Penstemon digitalis                                     Foxglove Beard Tongue

Phlox paniculata varieties                            Garden Phlox   ‘Bright Eyes’ ‘Nicky’ ‘David’ 

Physostegia virginianum                              Obedient Plant ‘Miss Manners’ (white)

Polemonium reptans                                    Jacob’s Ladder

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’                   Black-eyed Susan ‘Goldsturm’

Rudbeckia laciniata                                     Cutleaf Coneflower

Rudbeckia triloba                                        Three-leaved Coneflower

Ruellia humilis                                            Wild Petunia

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’       Little Bluestem ‘The Blues’

Scuttelaria incana                                         Scullcap hyssop

Silphium perfoliatium var. connatum          Virginia Cupplant

Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’                       ‘Fireworks’ Goldenrod

Solidago ‘Little Lemon’                              ‘Little Lemon’ Dwarf Goldenrod

Thermopsis caroliniana                                False Lupine

Tiarella cordifolia ‘Running Tapestry’        Foamflower ‘Running Tapestry’

Tradescantia ohiensis                                   Spiderwort

Vernonia glauca                                           Upland Ironweed

 

 

Trees and Shrubs

Acer rubrum                                                Red Maple

Acer saccharum                                           Sugar Maple          

Amelanchier Canadensis                             Serviceberry

Amelanchier laevis                                      Allegheny Serviceberry

Aronia arbutifolia                                        Red Chokeberry

Aronia melanocarpa                                    Black Chokeberry                              

Carpinus carolinia                                       Hornbeam

Cephalanthus occidentalis                           Buttonbush

Cercis canadensis                                         Redbud

Clethra alnifolia                                           Summersweet

Cornus amonum                                           Silky Dogwood

Dyospyros virginianum                               Persimmon

Franklinia alatamaha                                   Franklin Tree

Fothergilla major                                         Witch Alder

Itea virginica                                                Virginia Sweetspire

Hamamelis virginiana                                  Witchhazel

Hydrangea quercifolia                                  Oakleaf Hydrangea

Ilex verticillata                                             Winterberry (female)

Ilex verticillata ‘Southern Gentleman’         Winterberry (male)

Lindera benzoin                                            Spicebush

Magnolia virginiana                                      Sweetbay Magnolia

Malus coronaria                                            American Crabapple

Myrica pensylvanica                                     Bayberry

Nyssa Sylvatica                                            Black Gum

Rhus aromatica                                             Fragrant Sumac

Rhus aromatica ‘Gro low’                            Dwarf Fragrant Sumac

Rhus coppalina                                             Dwarf Winged Sumac

Sambucus Canadensis                                  Elderberry

Viburnum trilobum                                       American Cranberry

Replacing Invasives With Natives: Japanese Stiltgrass by Carol Schroding

Replacing Invasives With Natives:  Japanese Stiltgrass

by Carol Schroding

Drive along almost any road in our township, and you will see one of the most insidiously invasive plants that we deal with in Haycock.  Japanese Stiltgrass, (Microstegium vinineum) native toJapan,China,Korea,IndiaandMalaysia, is an annual grass which grows 2 to 3.5 ft.  The leaves are lance-shaped, 1 to 3 in. long and have a shiny midrib. The plant resembles a delicate bamboo.  It flowers in late summer and produces dry fruits called achenes soon after bloom. 

Japanese stiltgrass is adapted to almost all conditions, sun or shade, dry or moist soil.  It spreads to form large patches, out-competing native plants.  And guess what!?  The deer do not eat it!   It was introduced in to theU.S.in Tenessee somewhere around 1919, having been used as a packing material for imported porcelain, and escaped in to the wild.  A single plant can produce 100-1,000 seeds that remain viable in the soil for at least 5 years, ensuring its persistence.  As if the seeds were not enough, it is also capable of a vegetative spread by rooting at joints along the stem.  Each joint can produce a new plant.  Stiltgrass is currently established in 16 eastern states fromNew YorktoFlorida.

If you are battling with this on a daily basis as I am, here are some of the suggested controls.  Pulling out by hand is the first.  Since it is an annual, hand-pulling when the soil is moist to pull the roots with it is the best control.  For larger areas, cut back with a mower or weed whip to prevent flowering and seed production.  This is best done later in the season, but before flowering and seed form.  There is evidence that cutting early in the summer will cause the plant to flower and seed earlier than normal.  Finally, although I do not promote their use, there are chemical controls (recommendation of the DCNR) for large infestations.  One of the best for this application is Roundup Pro® (glyphosate), a systemic non-specific herbicide.  Use caution as it will kill or damage almost any plant it comes in contact with.

For more information on invasive plants in PA and their management and control visit

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/invasivetutorial/List.htm.

Now that you’ve pulled all your stiltgrass out, the fun and equally important part comes!  Replacing this nuisance invasive with beautiful native plants appropriate for the site is not only pleasing, rewarding and supporting the wildlife on your property, but will help prevent the return of the invasive plants.  Whatever you do, don’t leave the area open or you are inviting the stiltgrass or some other invasive right back in to your property.  One trick that I have learned, especially if I do not plan to plant an area right away, is to place heavy cardboard over the area, and cover with mushroom soil. 

As stiltgrass is adapted to almost any site, your native replacements will need to be appropriately suited to that particular site.   In my next writing, I will discuss other invasive plants in Haycock, and some wonderful native replacements!  In the mean time, use what I will call the three R’s of replacing invasives with natives…Recognize, Remediate or Remove, Replace!

Informative Links to Native and Invasive Plants in PA

The 2 links below provide valuable information on:

 what plants are native to PA

and what plants are invasive (and how to identify them)

http://www.acb-online.org/pubs/projects/deliverables-145-1-2004.pdf

Bamboo Invasive Plant Video

Bamboo: Decorative But Destructive. By Janine Disanti and John Daub

Bamboo: Decorative or Destructive?

 

by John Daub

Bamboo can be found in many yards and gardens, acting as a decoration to make everything around it have a bit more exotic flair. People find bamboo to be aesthetically pleasing, but it is this attraction that shields the reality of the situation from the minds of those that plant it. The truth of the matter is that bamboo does not belong here in the United States, and as much as people would like to convince themselves otherwise, planting it in one’s backyard poses risks. Bamboo is an invasive species in this country, brought over from its native lands of China around 1882 with the hopes of adding decoration to people’s homes in the U.S. Invasive species pose a major ecological risk, growing uncontrolled in non-natural environments and outcompeting native species.

When planted in one’s own backyard, bamboo can grow as fast as one hundred centimeters per hour, growing out of control in a matter of weeks. Bamboo spreads clonally through rhizomes that spread underneath the ground’s surface, allowing for bamboo to spread despite how much cutting is done to try and prevent it. As the bamboo spreads, less and less grass, flowers, or any other native species of plants can grow in the area that is rapidly taken over, posing a headache for gardeners and a horrific situation for ecologists and environmental control agencies. For those that do not have the time to cull back the growth of bamboo, their gardens are lost before their eyes.

Though the planting of bamboo in the United States is not recommended, methods to control bamboo do exist for those who insist to use it as a decorative item for their yards. The continuous cutting of bamboo down to its roots will help the problem, but it is inefficient as the bamboo can survive and continue to grow if it is not constantly cut before it is allowed to produce leaves. This type of care requires a lot of attention that some might not be willing to give. One of the most efficient ways to control the spread of bamboo is by installing a tough plastic barrier about thirty inches deep around the bamboo to prevent the spread of the rhizomes. This will effectively limit the bamboo growth to a set area and will save gardens from rampant, uncontrolled growth.

Thoughts on the Invasiveness of Bamboo –Janine Disanti

Invasive species cause many problems to native communities and pose a threat to healthy, functioning ecosystems. Whenever a species is introduced outside of its native range, it can take over because of the absence of its natural predators which function to keep the species in check. By crowding out native species, invasive species lower the habitat value for native species of vertebrates and invertebrates which rely on the native plants for food and shelter. As an invasive species spreads and chokes out other native plant life, genetic diversity and therefore habitat functionality decreases. It is important to keep invasive species from spreading unchecked for the sake of animals, the environment, stopping the spread of diseases, pollination, genetic diversity, and saving the food supply produced by farmlands.

Bamboo spreads through underground runners called rhizomes instead of making seed, allowing it to take over a relatively large area of land in a short period of time. Its stalks also grow incredibly quickly and densely which creates shade that prevents any other native seedlings from getting sunlight on the forest floor. For this reason, a significant reduction in the population size of native species in the community is noted when bamboo is present. Management of bamboo causes major investment when it is allowed to spread uncontrolled. The common treatment plan for removal includes the “cut stump” method, where the stalk is cut and herbicide is applied. Several treatments over a couple years are required before the species can be controlled. Bamboo is also known to attract insects such as mosquitoes, which lay their eggs in the water which collects inside the stalks. By controlling the spread of bamboo, the diseases that are spread by these insects can also be controlled.

Although bamboo is a very interesting and beautiful plant, homeowners should take precautions when planting it in their own yards in order to preserve the functionality of our native habitats. One of the most effective ways to control bamboo from spreading is to install a tough plastic barrier about 30 inches deep to prevent the bamboo rhizomes from spreading. The soil next to the barrier should be tightly compacted so that the bamboo rhizome isn’t encouraged to grow deeper. Bamboo typically grows in the top couple inches of soil if it is loose, but when a bamboo root hits an obstruction it can respond by growing downward an underneath of the barrier. Also, if someone desires to plant a small amount of bamboo as an accent plant in their yard without it spreading, it can be contained in a pot which will be buried underground. The bottom of the pot should be cut out except for a one inch lip so that a circular screen can be placed in the bottom and will stay in place. Coarse screens, such as window screens, are best and two layers should be put in the bottom of the pot. By controlling the spread of bamboo, we can become one step closer to restoring local habitats to healthy and functioning ecosystems.

Bamboo as an Invasive Species

Summary (John Daub)

Bamboo is a plant native to China that was brought to the United States due to its unique and exotic look. Many use bamboo in a decorative and ornamental fashion, often planting it in their own yards. However, the aesthetic appeal of bamboo masks the fact that the plant is indeed an invasive species in our country, and as with any invasive species, brings consequences that must be dealt with. Once established in the environment, bamboo has ecological impacts that can easily result in overgrowth that is difficult to control, pushing native plants out of their natural environment. People who plant bamboo are often unaware of the methods used to control its spread, such as the installment of physical barriers to stop the spread of the bamboo’s rhizomes and tedious cutting of the stalks year after year.

The Issue

Bamboo growing patterns (Janine Disanti)

There are over 70 species of bamboo divided into approximately 1,450 species. Therefore, bamboo can grow in a wide variety of climates from cold mountains to hot jungles. Bamboo originated in China, but can now be found all over Asia and India, in Australia, Africa, and the Americas (Wikipedia). Bamboo prefers loose, loamy soil and usually their rhizomes are within the top few inches of soil. It can also vary in height from about 1 foot to over 100 feet (ABS). It is considered a grass (family Poaceae) and all bamboo are perennial evergreens. They have a hollow stem and don’t undergo secondary growth, causing them to be the same width from base to top. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth, and can grow as much as 100 cm in a 24-hour period (Wiki). The species of bamboo Phyllostachys nuda found in Rutgers Gardens produces culms each season that grow to 30 feet or more in just weeks (Rutgers).

Most species of bamboo don’t make seed very often, typically only one every 65-120 years (Wikipedia). The majority of bamboo culms that are seen in a spread are actually all from one genetic lineage. Bamboo spreads underground through rhizomes which connect one plant to another, where they can share water and nutrients from one stalk to the other. There are two types of bamboo plants: runners and clumpers. The running types, like the ones at Rutgers Gardens, send out underground runners which come from the parent plant. Clumping species spread much more slowly and don’t expand more than a few inches a year. Clumpers are more frequently found in tropical regions while runners do best in temperate climates (ABS).

References: “Bamboo.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 08 June 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo>. “Bamboo Forest.” Rutgers Gardens. Web. 08 June 2011. <http://rutgersgardens.rutgers.edu/>. “General Bamboo Information.” American Bamboo Society – Official Website – ABS – BAMBOO – Bamboo.org. Web. 06 June 2011. <http://www.bamboo.org/index.php>.

Methods for controlling bamboo (Janine Disanti)

Since bamboo spreads clonally through rhizomes underground and has a very rapid growth rate, actions must be taken to keep it under control. One of the most common and effective methods involves installing a tough plastic barrier about 30 inches deep to prevent the bamboo rhizomes from spreading. The soil next to the barrier should be tightly compacted so that the bamboo rhizome isn’t encouraged to grow deeper. Bamboo typically grows in the top couple inches of soil if it is loose, but when a bamboo root hits an obstruction it can respond by growing downward an underneath of the barrier (ABS).

Another solution which isn’t as effective, but can be if maintained properly, is to make a mini moat around the area where the bamboo is growing. Making a shallow trench about 10-12 inches deep in the soil around the bamboo will allow you to see if any rhizomes are trying to cross the gap, at which point they can be cut off. This method requires more frequent checking of the trench for rhizomes, but is cheaper than a plastic barrier.

Bamboo doesn’t work well with herbicides since the rhizome underground will still be alive, but another method to get rid of unwanted bamboo is to cut the shoots (culms) to the ground. Water and fertilize them so they will grow back, and when they do cut them again before they can make leaves for photosynthesis. This way, the plant will be using a lot of its energy to make shoots, but will not be able to perform photosynthesis and receive energy. This will cause the plant to eventually be exhausted to death, it wont be able to send up new shoots, and the rhizomes will rot underground. If someone desires to plant a small amount of bamboo as an accent plant in their yard without it spreading, it can be contained in a pot which will be buried underground. The bottom of the pot should be cut out except for a one inch lip so that a circular screen can be placed in the bottom and will stay in place. Coarse screens, such as window screens, are best and two layers should be put in the bottom of the pot.

Some people control the spread of their bamboo plants by eating the shoots it produces. The shoots of most species are edible raw and all are edible cooked. This is only effective if the plants are harvested every year, triggering them to grow new shoots. Another affective way to control the spread of bamboo is through natural borders such as any body of water or a maintained landscape, such as a mowed lawn or plowed field. These types of disruptions don’t allow the bamboo shoots to spread through creating a natural barrier which they can’t cross.

Reference: Jaquith, Ned. “Planting and Care of Bamboo.” American Bamboo Society – Official Website – ABS – BAMBOO – Bamboo.org. Web. 06 June 2011. http://www.bamboo.org/index.php>

 

Problems caused by invasive species such as bamboo (Janine Disanti)

The most common characteristics used to assess the invasiveness of a plant are its ecological impact, biological characteristic and dispersal ability, ecological amplitude and distribution, and difficulty of control (NYIS). In general, invasive species are detrimental to native species since they can often outcompete them when introduced out of their native range. This is because the natural biocontrol agents that normally keep their spread in check (for example a type of insect which completes its life cycle on the plant) are not present. By crowding out native species, invasive species lower the habitat value for native species of vertebrates and invertebrates which rely on the native plants for food and shelter. As an invasive species spreads and chokes out other native plant life, genetic diversity and therefore habitat functionality decreases. It is important to keep invasive species from spreading unchecked for the sake of animals, the environment, stopping the spread of diseases, pollination, genetic diversity, and saving the food supply produced by farmlands.

According to the New York Non-Native Plant Invasiveness Ranking Form, the species of bamboo at Rutgers Gardens Phyllostachys nuda has received a “moderate” invasiveness rank. It was noted that bamboo influences ecosystem processes to a minor degree, for example it sucks great amounts of nutrients from the soil which are consequently unable to be used by native plants. It also creates shade which prevents any other native seedlings from getting sunlight on the forest floor. Bamboo is considered to have a significant affect on natural community structure since it eliminates the herbaceous layer of the forest through shading. There is a significant reduction in the population size of native species in the community when bamboo is present, especially because of how densely it grows (NYIS).

There is a high chance of the spread of bamboo by indirect human actions, such as commercial sales. Since Phyllostachys nuda is one of the hardiest species of bamboo and isn’t very costly, it is commonly bought by people to plant in their yards (NYIS). Also, bamboo could be spread through the transfer of soil with bamboo rhizomes still present within. Since bamboo has generalist habitat requirements, such as the ability to grow on nutrient poor soils, it often wins when competing again native plants. Its fast grow also allows it to grow up before other plants and shade them out. In New Jersey, it has the ability to grow in large dense stands which allow little to no other native or invasive plants to grow there, destroying otherwise healthy habitats. Since the climate in its native range is very similar to that of the northeastern United States, it is able to flourish.

In every state in which it is present, management of bamboo causes major investment. The common treatment plan for removal includes the “cut stump” method, where the stalk is cut and herbicide is applied. Several treatments over a couple years are required before the species can be controlled.

Reference: “Phyllostachys (genus) Non-Native Plant Invasiveness Ranking Form.” NY Invasive Species Home. Web. 06 June 2011. http://nyis.info/Default.aspx>.

Problem- Insects (John Daub)

Bamboo can be the source of potential insect problems, whether it is bamboo that is growing in the United States already or bamboo that is being transported from Asia for decorative and industrial purposes. Bamboo being shipped across the sea can harbor invasive species of insects that can be damaging for the natural environments found in the United States. Once these species are released into the environment, it is hard to stop their spread, as they do not fit into a natural ecological niche here in the United States. Since the environment is not made to handle and naturally control the populations of invasive species, these invasive species of insects often push out and outcompete local species of insects and can often cause massive damage to native plant species that have no defense against an unfamiliar species from Asia.

Bamboo that grows in the United States can pose the problem of sheltering insects. Bamboo is a natural habitat for the invasive Asian Tiger Mosquito, as well as other native mosquito species. The Asian Tiger Mosquito often lay their eggs in small container environments, such as tires that have collected water, tree holes, and any other type of small container that might contain some water. Bamboo Shoots often have small openings at the top of the shoot that travel straight down into the inside of the stalk. These holes often collect water from rainfall and act as perfect container sites for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

The problem with bamboo acting as a container site in which mosquitoes lay their eggs is that the bamboo acts as a type of protection for the development of the mosquito. The most common mosquito control mechanisms often include the broadcasting of pesticides across vast areas of land that have been deemed at risk for mosquitoes and their larvae. When the mosquitoes have flown down inside of the bamboo to lay their eggs, the broadcasted pesticides have difficulty reaching the inner breeding pools inside of the long bamboo shoots. This means that the pesticides’ effectiveness has been reduced by the protective outer layer of the bamboo. Instead of destroying the mosquitoes, the pesticides instead only add harmful chemicals into the environment with little effect in pest control. Other beneficial species of insects and plants are instead affected by the chemicals released more so than the mosquitoes.

Reference: “Larval Habitats of Mosquitoes.” Rutgers Center for Vector Biology. Web. 06 June 2011. <http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/habitat.htm>.

Bamboo- History of Arrival (John Daub)

Bamboo is native to China and was first introduced to the United States around 1882. It had been cultivated in Japan for centuries. The reason Bamboo was brought to this country was for ornamental uses and because people found it to be aesthetically pleasing.

Reference: “Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual: Golden Bamboo.” Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. Web. 15 June 2011. <http://www.se-eppc.org/manual/PHAU1.html>.

Distribution in the United States (John Daub)

According to the USDA Forest Service, Phyllostachys aurea, also known as Golden bamboo, has been found in the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Virginia, California, Oregon, and Maryland. It has been reported to be invasive in the states of Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The state of New Jersey is also at risk. As the Golden Bamboo species poses a threat of invasiveness in multiple states surrounding New Jersey, the bamboo will become an even greater threat as the species continues to adapt to the colder environmental factors. The climate of New Jersey is not much different from the climate in either Pennsylvania or Maryland.

Reference: “Golden Bamboo.” USDA Forest Service. Web. 15 June 2011. <http://na.fs.fed.us/fhp/invasive_plants/weeds/golden-bamboo.pdf>.

Golden bamboo is only one species of bamboo, as all are invasive in the United States. Other species grow better in the cold climate of New Jersey and pose an even greater risk. Phyllostachys nuda is one of the most difficult species of bamboo to control due to its hardy nature, growing in parts of the Southwest, Southeast, northwest, northeast, and deserts.

Reference: “All About Bamboo- Regional Recommendations.” Bamboo Sourcery. Web. 15 June 2011. http://bamboosourcery.com/cat_frame.cfm?id=48>.

Potential Solutions (John Daub)

• Raising Public Awareness: In order to combat the rampant spread of bamboo, people have to be made aware that the potential for such a problem does in fact exist. In order to do so, campaigns of some sort could provide the answer. Awareness amongst the general community must be raised to a level where people begin to view bamboo as a potential hazard for their house or for public parks, rather than viewing it as an ornament that in no way can harm the environment. Awareness groups could be one potential way to get the information to the people in a community.

Groups in the area could work to inform local residents, either by going from house to house in residential areas that exhibit a tendency to display bamboo as a decorative item in their yards, or by setting up large events. If awareness groups were to set up an event to help cull back the growth of bamboo in a public park or area, they could sell the event based on the idea that participants would be able to either take some bamboo shoots back with them to use for ornamental purposes, or by promising to teach people how to make a certain type of craft or project with the bamboo that has been cut back.

Local residents could also be informed by activist groups through a means such as flyer distribution in areas at risk to the spread of bamboo in the natural environment. Areas at risk would include rural and suburban areas more so than urban and heavily populated areas, as there would be less space for bamboo to spread in those areas. The main threat of bamboo would be its spread into a local forest from someone’s backyard. Single-flyer distribution would make sure that all residents of a community would be made aware of the problem, as long as everyone took the time to read what was on the information flyer distributed. In order to make certain of this, the flyer would have to be able to catch someone’s eye easily so that it was not immediately discarded.

Flyers could include information describing why bamboo is a problem and ways to control bamboo in residential areas. It would be wise to list the problems caused by bamboo based on how much of an effect it could potentially have on causing property damage in order to give residents a motivation for taking an interest. Control methods would have to be easy and cheap, so that residents would have some chance to actually perform the control. Cost or prolonged work would not appeal to residents and would make them less likely to help in controlling the invasive species.

• Legislation: Legislation would be a way to add potential money to fund control project for bamboo. If state funding could be diverted to programs that focused on controlling the spread of bamboo as an invasive species, the ability to take action would become much easier. Current legislation exists to deal with other potentially harmful invasive species, but little legislation exists currently to deal with bamboo specifically. In order to create more traction for the issue, groups might be recommended in order to have a focused effort writing legislators all at once to bring attention to the issue, in addition to calling legislators to express concerns and the potential problems associated with bamboo. More focus might be given to the problem if potential uses for the bamboo could be proposed, such as the use of the bamboo collected for building projects in public parks to create things such as bamboo bridges to look aesthetically pleasing. The difficulty in gaining legislative backing is that the legislatures must be convinced that the money used to fund a bamboo program would not be better used elsewhere, a monumental task in a time of financial unease.

• Building Projects: Bamboo is an important and sturdy building material for all sorts of products. This is what can separate bamboo from other invasive species, in that when bamboo is cut down and controlled, it can actually serve a use to people if used correctly. A volunteer group, or even a Boy scout or Girl scout troop, could find bamboo useful once it has been cut down. Below are some uses for bamboo:

1. Bridges: Bridges are a useful application for bamboo as they can serve a function of transportation over certain areas such as streams, small rivers, or muddy and uneven terrain. A few pieces of bamboo will support a great deal of weight and tend to last for long periods of time.

2. Fences: Fences are another useful application for bamboo. Bamboo fences can be used to keep people out of certain areas, such as keeping people from walking over grass in public parks. Bamboo fences are pleasing to the eye and may add more to the atmosphere in a public place. For instance, it may look better to surround a public tool shed or port-o-potty’s with bamboo fences rather than letting them remain as they are. The bamboo fences are strong and are generally safe, with none of the sharp metal edges that metal fences sometimes have. They could be preferable to surround dog play areas or children playgrounds.

3. Shelter: Bamboo houses or canopies can offer shelter from the rain if built effectively. Bamboo can also be fastened into tepees. Tepees can be used for shelter, but they are also occasionally used as a surface on which to grow other vegetation, such as hanging grape vines. Bamboo shoots can be used to build gazebos, which would benefit any public park and add to the ambience of any area.

4. Food: Bamboo is used to cook with in many Asian kitchens. It is a healthy food choice and can be used in numerous dishes when cut fresh.