Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Invasive Weed Task Force

Several years ago, I wrote an editorial about the dandelion-digging squads uprooting the dandelions of Denali. I like dandelions, and in that editorial I pointed out that really, the way to stop the spread of invasive weeds was to keep the people and particularly their vehicles out of the park. My editorial was in defense of dandelions and other colonizers, and a bit of a tirade against monoculture.

Yet, invasive weeds really ARE a problem. And they're a problem in Ester. This last summer, I noticed that the white sweetclover had begun to creep up Stone Road and was crowding out everything else. The purple vetch is starting to strangle the willows and grasses and other things on Village Road. And the Siberian pea has finally escaped Frank's yard and Gambleton (aka Bachelor Row on Alpha Way) and started showing up in the woods amongst the highbush cranberries.

I dread the thought of all our local berry bushes vanishing under the onslaught of inedible northern kudzu equivalents.

So I did a lot of yanking of white sweetclover last summer. But it went to seed before I could get all of it, and so next year, the rosebushes are going to be hard pressed to survive amidst the green tide of the invaders. White sweetclover is one of the most pernicious invasive weeds we've got in Alaska, and is choking the margins of rivers and streams in the Matanuska Valley. And now it's moved in to our village. I plan to get out there and deal with the Siberian pea as well as the roadside monsters next summer.

The UAF Invasive Plant Task Force is forming to tackle the problem of invasive weeds in the Fairbanks area. (UAF, incidentally, had introduced purple vetch into the area decades ago when they were doing research on forage--this sort of thing, unintentional sowing of havoc, happens with gardeners and farmers a lot.) Their first planning meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 26, 5:30 to 7 pm room 102 at University Park (my old elementary school!), 1000 University Avenue.

1 comment:

Ishmael said...

As long as they're not using paraquat on my invasive weeds, I'm fine with it.

This reminds me... last summer I saw some real pretty orange flowers behind my place and took their seeds and sprinkled them in places they weren't. Was that wrong?