Cheri's Top Five Invasives

KELT's Stewardship Coordinator Cheri Brunault says these are her top five outlaw plants in our area: 

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Bittersweet vine

An aggressive vine that climbs trees and bushes and destroys tree canopies. The vines twine on stems and plant branches, and grow over the top of bushes and trees, eventually strangling them if left unchecked. Cutting the vines is helpful to control seed production. The vine can be identified by its orange roots and red berries in the fall.  The vines have established themselves in Sewall Woods, and KELT is actively taking measures to bring them under control, a process that will take several years.  For more information on identification and control from the University of Maine, click here:

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Japanese Barberry

An invasive bush typically three feet in height, but which can grow to six feet. An ornamental plant first brought to Maine in the 19th century, the bush was spread into woods and fields by birds who eat its red berries. The bushes proliferate in the wild, and will choke out native bushes and other undergrowth in areas of established thickets. The bush grows in sun and shade, and in a variety of soil types. For more information on how to identify and control Japanese Barberry, click here:


Exotic Bush Honeysuckle:

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An aggressive plant that forms dense thickets up to 12 feet in height or taller. This several species of this invasive shrub are frequently found in agricultural areas and overgrown fields. The danger from these plants is their thick growth and fast spread, which crowds out other shrubs, leaving birds and other animals with fewer food sources. Commonly found in areas where the ground has been disturbed. The branches of this honeysuckle are hollow, which distinguishes it from the native varieties that are not a natural threat. Find out more about these invadors by clicking here:


Japanese Knotweed

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Also known as Mexican bamboo, this invasive grows quickly in thickets up to nine feet in height, and completely crowds out other plants over an extensive area if left unchecked.  The leaves are two to six inches in length and broadly oval in shape. The plant spreads through underground horizontal roots, and is very hard to eradicate once established. It was brought into the country as an ornamental, but can now be found extensively on roadsides and is spread largely by the transfer of soil containing root fragments. The University of Maine has more information here:

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Multiflora Rose

The U.S. Soil Conservation Service once actively encourage the planting of this invasive as a ground cover for erosion control. It grows readily in sunlight and shade, and once established, creates large thickets of intertwined, thorny canes that crowd out other plants. The small flowers come in white clusters, and as with some other invasives, it is spread by birds which eat the berries. You can find out more about the Multifloral Rose by clicking here:

John Burr