Farewell to invasive shrubs


By David Wood

The Woodlands and Wildlife Committee has been working to minimize the spread of exotic invasive shrubs in Eastman. The University of New Hampshire (UNH) defines an invasive plant as one that is not native to a particular ecosystem, whose introduction is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, and is capable of moving aggressively into an area, monopolizing light, nutrients, water, and space to the detriment of native species. In Eastman, the two invasive shrubs that most threaten our forests are autumn olive and glossy buckthorn. These shrubs are most common in the southeastern portions of Eastman. During the summer of 2015, they were found along the banks of the Village District of Eastman’s (VDE) finishing ponds in John’s Glen, down the trail leading from the parking lot at the end of Clearwater Drive.

Planting

All generations helped plant seedlings along the finishing ponds.

Although these plants are invasive and their berries are not the ideal food for wildlife, they still provide some nutritional value. Consequently, foresters from the UNH Extension Service advised us to plant native shrubs that will provide higher quality wildlife forage before removing the invasive plants. As the first step, the Woodlands and Wildlife Committee purchased seedlings of Red-Osier Dogwood, Highbush Cranberry, Black Chokeberry, and Fragrant Sumac from the New Hampshire State Forest Nursery in Boscowen. These plants were chosen because their spring flowers will benefit pollinators and in the fall their berries will be eaten by birds and their leaves will turn lovely colors.

Last April, eight volunteers planted 25 seedlings of each of the plants along the banks of the three finishing ponds. Each plant is marked with a flag showing its identity. And don’t worry, this sumac is not poisonous to the touch.

Dave Wood, Ph.D., is a retired biochemist.

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