Saturday, 28 October 2017

Bring in the Hit Squad

Picture of young garlic mustard plants.

Young garlic mustard plants are especially easy to treat in the late fall or early spring when native plants are dormant. [Conservation Media, llc]

Are you struggling with tough invasive like garlic mustard and reed canary grass? This is a great time to put a serious hurt on these super species. It is also among the most economical times to get your revenge.

By now, native plants have gone dormant. The landscape should by and large be brown and tan. For landowners, who are battling any number of exotic weed species, the remaining green is a bitter reminder of their problem.

Fortunately, this green also represents a unique opportunity. Since native plants are safely sleeping beneath the soil, landowners are free to use non-selective herbicides that would otherwise harm beneficial plants. Chief among these is glyphosate, which is cheap and highly effective.

Those living plants that are sprayed now will either be killed outright or severely weakened so that they are unable to survive the stress of winter. By contrast, application made in spring or summer might stress but not kill something like reed canary grass, which could substantially recover before the arrival of winter.

Glyphosate is short lived, breaking down in the soil in just a couple weeks. This means that wildflowers and native grasses that emerge in the spring will be unaffected by fall spraying.

I still avoid broadcast spraying in most situations because it is wasteful. Spot spraying is way easier when your green target weeds stand out so well. This tactic is especially useful in situations where weeds are scattered among more rate native plants I want to protect.

Depending on weather, this window can be short. Snow and hard freezes will force even hearty weeds into dormancy. Herbicides tend to be more readily taken up on warm sunny fall days. 

Herbicide needs to be part of an integrated weed management approach that includes management tools like controlled fire, cover crops and mowing. As always, follow label directions to minimize the amount of chemical used while making sure it will do its job.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

EPA Awards $2.7M for WI Weed Control

Picture of Lake Michigan beach with trees, dune grass and shrubs.

Lake Michigan’s magnificent shoreline faces huge challenges.

The EPA announced that it has awarded 2.7 million dollars to five Wisconsin groups to help control invasive plants in the state. The grants are part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium will receive $600,000 to implement a multi-organization collaboration to control the spread of invasive species along 2,000 miles of roadways and more than 600 acres of woodland habitat. The collaboration will include local government roadway crews, property owners, community-based organizations and school groups.

Picture of someone spraying herbicide on a tree stump.

Volunteer treats freshly cut stump sapwood with Garlon 4 to prevent the tree from re-sprouting.

The Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission is granted $599,997 to control invasive species on approximately 1,000 acres in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. Funding will help protect high quality habitat, as well as increase access to the coastline and nearshore areas.

The Wisconsin Tribal Conservation Advisory Council will use their $393,750 grant to employ four tribal civilian conservation corps, who will work with eleven tribes to prevent the degradation of subsistence fish and wild rice resources. Funded staff will also manage aquatic, wetland and terrestrial invasive species on more than 500 acres of tribal lands.

Picture of chainsaw and helmet on truck tailgate.

Gearing up for oak savanna restoration.

Two new invasive control employees will be funded for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. They will receive $551,669 to pay for two new crew members to control invasive species in 900 acres of the Great Lakes Basin. Lake Winnebago Chain of Lakes and the Fox River above Green Bay will be targeted.

An award of $599,673 will go to the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership to control invasive species on approximately 1,370 acres of wetland and aquatic habitat in northeastern Wisconsin. The funded project will improve the ecosystem services and enhance tourism, property values and navigation.

According to Jim Kettler, Executive Director of the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership. “LNRP efforts to control and limit Phragmites spread will focus on collaboration between stakeholders including federal, state, and county agencies, local townships, private landowners, community non-profits, and natural area and right-of-way managers through the implementation of best management practices, education, and outreach.”

Contact Allison Nowotarski (nowotarski.allison@epa.gov) for more information about these grants.

June 2017

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Let’s Get Cutting

With the early onset of hot weather in Wisconsin, wild parsnip is now starting to bloom. This is the best time to mow this serious invasive plant.

Check out this article by WDNR invasive plants coordinator Kelly Kearns:

Wild parsnip blooms early, time to mow or take other control steps

Remember to watch out for wild parsnip sap. If you get it on your skin while exposed to sunlight, the sap causes serious chemical burns.

Saturday, 03 June 2017

Pulling Together

Many hands make light work. When it comes to getting rid of invasive plants like Garlic mustard, Phragmites and Japanese knotweed working together as a community can be the only effective way to get control of an otherwise retractable problem.

Across Wisconsin and the midwest public land managers, right-of-way supervisors and private landowners are coming together to form Cooperative Weed Management Associations (CWMAs). These groups identify and prioritize invasive species, create management plans and execute those plans to reduce noxious weed populations and improve the landscape for everyone. 

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced the 2017 Pulling Together Initiative Request For Proposals. The Pulling Together Initiative is now accepting applications for competitive funding. Details about this funding opportunity are provided in the Request For Proposals, and additional program information can be viewed at www.nfwf.org/pti. The process includes a pre-proposal stage; the pre-proposal submission deadline is July 12, 2017.

The Pulling Together Initiative program is inviting applications for competitive grant funding to promote the conservation of natural habitats by preventing, managing or eradicating invasive and noxious plant species. In 2017, the program will award grants to develop or advance Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs) and Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs).

Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, federal, state, tribal, local, and municipal government agencies, and educational institutions. Approximately $850,000 is available in 2017 and grant requests may be up to $100,000.

If you are interested in finding out more, you can join a webinar on Monday, June 12 at 12 PM Eastern Time/11 AM Central Time to learn about the 2017 grant funding opportunity through the Pulling Together Initiative. You will learn about funding priorities and the application process, receive tips for submitting competitive proposals, and have the opportunity to ask questions. The webinar will last approximately 30 minutes. Please register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8045866934844885763

If you have any questions, please contact:

Caroline Oswald
Senior Manager
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Central Regional Office
8011 34th Avenue South, Suite 242
Bloomington, MN 55425
612-564-7253
Caroline.Oswald@nfwf.org | www.nfwf.org

 

Thursday, 01 June 2017

June is Invasive Species Awareness Month

What do you think of when you hear invasive species? Some folks see in their minds garlic mustard and buckthorn choking their woods. Others conjure up images of lakes clogged with Eurasian milfoil. Still others may imagine gypsy moths or emerald ash borers attacking their trees. All these threats and more face landowners and those who spend time in the outdoors.

As a landowner, invasive plants tend to present the most common issues for land management. Some problems have been around for many years, like honeysuckle while others like Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana), Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) and Lesser calandine (Ranunculus ficaria) are just beginning to show up on the landscape.

Regardless of the threat, prevention is the best strategy for protecting your land. The Wisconsin DNR recommends, “Be careful of materials brought onto your land, especially soil, mulch, compost and plants. They may come with unseen roots, seeds or invasive earthworms.”

Some folks are really deep into controlling invasive species. Each year the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council recognizes individuals and groups that make significant contributions to finding and getting rid of these problems. The Invader Crusader Awards honor professionals, volunteers and organizations that have made a difference across our state. Find out who is making a difference.

To learn more about invasive species in Wisconsin and what you can do to protect your land, keep up regularly with our blog posts, make the Conservation Digest website for conservation management information and check out this article in the Prioritizing Invasive Plants in the current issue of the WDNR Natural Heritage niche magazine.

April 2017

Friday, 14 April 2017

Bag ‘Em Danno

Garlic mustard can be pulled or cut, as well. Plants need to be bagged and removed as they produce allopathic chemicals that will continue to suppress native plants if the dead garlic mustard is left not he ground. The other reason for bagging and removing garlic mustard is that plants that have flowered will use their remaining nutrients to produce mature seed even after the plant is pulled.

Folks who live in southeastern Wisconsin can participate in 2017 Garlic Mustard Pull-A-thon. Sponsored by the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc. (SEWISC), it is an annual fundraiser event, that encourages youth and adults throughout southeastern Wisconsin to protect their woodlands by pulling this invasive plant.  The goal this year is to pull 10,000 pounds and raise essential funds for the fight against invasive species!

Head to the Wisconsin DNR website for more information about controlling garlic mustard.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Fired Up Over Garlic Mustard

Photograph by: Paul Bolstad, University of Minnesota, Bugwood.org

My favorite method to control garlic mustard is with prescribed fire. Not only does it kill the weeds and their seed in the soil, it stimulates fire adapted native plant seeds to germinate. Not only will the fire control garlic mustard, but it suppresses the invasive shrubs that have degraded so much of our woodlands in Wisconsin.

photograph by Mark Horn, Conservation Media LLC

Unfortunately, you must have a trained and well equipped which most private landowners find too difficult to find or expensive to afford. Garlic mustard also often grows in areas that lack enough ground fuel to carry fire through the weed patches.

While it may be too late to arrange a controlled burn this spring, now is a great time to begin planning for next year. The Wisconsin Prescribe Fire Council is a good place to start

Head to the Wisconsin DNR website for more information about controlling garlic mustard.

Tuesday, 04 April 2017

Torch ‘Em

 

picture of propane weed torch

Propane weed torch shown here without pressure its pressure regulator.

For those who refuse to use herbicide to kill garlic mustard and other invasive plants, there is the weed torch. It uses propane flame to kill young garlic mustard plants. Early spring is also a good time for this method as desirable plants are less likely to be burned.

The cost of a torch rig is around $200.00, which is quite a bit of money considering its limited usefulness. The torch assembly is also difficult to transport.

Some people strap the bottle to a backpack frame, but I am not comfortable with that arrangement. Others use a two wheel cart that can be difficult to navigate of narrow trails and steep slopes.

Head to the Wisconsin DNR website for more information about controlling garlic mustard.

Monday, 03 April 2017

Ready, Set, Spray

This week is your chance to Roundup garlic mustard before spring wildflowers start to appear. This invasive plant from Europe forms dense mats in woodlands and along edges that poison the soil crowd out spring wildflowers.

Early spring is a great time of year to get ahead of this serious invasive pest. Plants are small and more easily killed by herbicide. Native plants are still dormant and will be for a couple more weeks.

Roundup (glyphosate) is a non-selective herbicide which means that any plant that gets sprayed will die or be seriously injured. It breaks down in sunlight and the soil within two weeks. This means spring wildflowers that sprout in late April and early may will not be hurt.

To be fully effective, glyphosate must spend enough time on the leaves to be absorbed. Make sure that leaves are dry and that there is no rain forecast for twelve hours after spraying. This gives the herbicide time to get transported from the leaves down into the roots where it does kills the plant.

Follow label directions, typically a 3-5% solution depending the formulation of glyphosate. In this case more is not better; it simply wastes money. Leaves will only absorb so much and the rest breaks down in the soil as the plant dies. Likewise, only spray leaves to the point of runoff; again the rest is wasted money.

As always, there may be some desirable plants nearby that have already sprouted or are likely to appear in the coming days, so only spray areas where garlic mustard is actively growing.

New garlic mustard plants may sprout later in the season, but since it is a biennial they will not bloom or set seed until next year.

My favorite method to control garlic mustard is with prescribed fire. Not only does it kill the weeds and their seed in the soil, it stimulates fire adapted native plant seeds to germinate. Unfortunately, you must have a trained and well equipped which most private landowners find too difficult to find or expensive to afford. Garlic mustard also often grows in areas that lack enough ground fuel to carry fire through the weed patches.

Head to the Wisconsin DNR website for more information about controlling garlic mustard.

March 2017

Friday, 31 March 2017

Perils of Pear Sex

Bradford pears form dense thickets that take over large areas and crowd out other plants.

These beautiful pear blossoms along your local roadside or in that vacant lot could be the beginning of a very ugly invasion. Wild Bradford pear trees are knocking at Wisconsin’s southern door. The blossoms may be pretty, but these escaped hybrids are a real problem on the landscape.

Flowers are whiter than apple blooms and petals are wider than wild plums.

Because of the mild winter these trees are likely to start blooming any day now. The entire tree is covered in large round clusters of blossoms in the early spring before leafing out.

Learn what to do if you think you might have these problem trees in your neighborhood by clicking here.