knotweed

Knotweed photo from Wikipedia

07/09/2009

As invasive weeds continue to invade upland areas throughout Warren, so does the volunteer control effort, according to Conservation Commission member Susan Hemmeter.

The invasive species, knotweed, has been the focus of the six cutbacks that have taken place over the last two years; chervil and gout weed have also been identified and included in the ongoing control effort.

The Vermont Department of Agriculture stipulates that under the quarantine rule, the movement of Class B noxious weeds is prohibited except in cases of cutting, bagging and dumping as a part of the control process.

INVASIVE SPECIES

As a result, bagged knotweed can be stored in dumpsters, allowed to mingle with other waste, and is accepted by landfills. The Nature Conservancy has written guidelines regarding the proper bagging and storage of invasive species, according to Hemmeter.

In circumstances other than for control and removal, Class B noxious weeds such as knotweed, chervil and gout weed are not allowed to be moved, distributed or sold within the state.

Hemmeter said the Conservation Commission is going after the knotweed because it is "very destructive and expensive to remove" and if allowed to progress runs the risk of taking over the prime agricultural soil.

PRIME AG SOILS

If knotweed takes hold in prime agricultural soil, it is impossible to remove, she said, because of the root structure and propensity to spread quickly. 

"Knotweed takes up space that we need for native plants; amphibians and birds depend on the native plants for food and shelter, and they can't use invasive plants," Hemmeter added.

Conservation Commission members identified upland areas of concern throughout Warren, where they said they'd like to focus their cutting and removal effort. Hemmeter said there is an "infamous patch" of knotweed growing on West Hill Road, one on Fuller Hill Road, Lincoln Gap Road, some near the Kingsbury Farm, and a new patch on Plunkton Road.

SOIL CHANGES

"It affects our crops; if these three weeds get into the woods, they displace the micro organisms in soils and the chemistry of the soil changes," Hemmeter continued.

"The plants they replace are home to nesting birds and frogs and toads," she added.

In addition, another noxious weed (purple loosestrife) season is approaching and is "extremely detrimental in wetland areas," according to Hemmeter.

Knotweed cuttings are currently being stored in a designated dumpster in town and in a burn pile at the Lareau Farm. For more information on the knotweed control project or to join the volunteer effort, contact the Warren Conservation Commission at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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