Loosestrife is Still on The Loose

purple loosestrife

[photo from Wikimedia commons]

In the last week, I’ve spent far too much time in the car and not nearly enough time in the garden.

I’ve driven from central Connecticut to the New Jersey shore (sadly not for vacation) and back again, spending an hour or more of that trip each way in the Hudson Valley on New York on I-684.

I’ve also driven the length of Connecticut and next week I’ll be heading to the very tip of Connecticut–to the Rhode Island border practically–to lecture.

Why am I carrying on about the car travels?

Because in all of this, what I’m seeing (besides the invasive vines, which in and of themselves are scary enough) are far too many blooming purple loosestrife (lythrum salicaria) plants.

Why am I surprised and why am I remarking on this?

Again, because all I have been hearing and reading about from the conservationists (including the group to which I belong) was about the fantastic control of this plant that had been achieved by a non-native beetle that had been imported–a beetle called galerucella that can be hand-reared by local folks (with suitable habitat, of course) and introduced.

In Connecticut alone a million and a half beetles have been introduced since 2004 and the beetle program has been in place since 1996. I was sort of hoping that 17 years would have produced better results than this.

But of course, with invasive plants, the “battle” is going to be long since they were well-established before we found controls.

And who knows what might have happened after this winter’s extreme snows (preceded by last autumn’s hurricane?)

So I’m hoping that this year’s bumper crop of loosestrife is just an anomaly and next year the good guys (the beetles) will begin to win the battle again.

2 thoughts on “Loosestrife is Still on The Loose

  1. bridget August 16, 2013 / 3:09 pm

    Here in Ireland Japenese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam are causing huge problems…spreading like mad. No one seems to be doing anything. It’s just left to the individual.

  2. gardendaze August 17, 2013 / 9:40 am

    We have a huge problem with Japanese knotweed as well. It’s interesting. Our towns and the state spray to try to control it but just this week I read a letter in out local paper from someone who clearly didn’t understand what was going on. The writer was condemning the scortched brown vegetation he was seeing along the roadside.

    As it so happened, I had to take a fairly long road trip on one of our major highways so I tried to glance at the type of scorching he was referring to. In every case, it was Japanese knotweed.

    He thought by leaving it, it would give our roads a “park like feel.”

    Oh well–I’m sure kudzu, in the south gives everything a park-like feel too! Jurassic park!

    Thanks for reading and sharing.


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