Stopping the Spread of Invasive Plants

I seem to be on a bit of a roll with the invasive plants and bugs theme, so let’s end the month that way.

I was surprised to read last week in the New York Times that there was a weevil that was being used to control the spread of Mile-a-Minute vine (persicaria perfoliata). I had posted a week or two ago about the beetle that has been used for almost two decades in the control of purple loosestrife, but this weevil was new to me–and very welcome news.

Thankfully we don’t have a lot of Mile a Minute vine in our state but we find more of it each year. While it doesn’t literally grow a mile-a minute, it is a fast grower, growing as much as a foot or more a day in our climate. And the truly delightful feature of it is the hooked thorns on its stem, making hand pulling quite the adventure.

This year, it was found at 6 new sites in Connecticut; last year it was found at 8 new sites; overall it is currently in 37 of our 169 towns so it is certainly not running rampant but it is spreading steadily. News of a weevil to stop the spread–or even slow it–would be welcome, especially since the article in the Times seems to show that certain places in the Bronx are infested with it and it’s just an easy “fly” as a bird goes from there to here.

This page, on the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group web site, hosted by UConn, has photos of the plants in all its stages for information. It also has a map showing all the affected towns and the newly affected towns over the last two years.

Perhaps when I muse aloud about why I have so many invasives in my yard, I should be grateful that this isn’t one of them!

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