A day at Chapman Forest battling Lonicera Japonica a.k.a. Japanese Honeysuckle
The President called for help. "I want you!" he said. So we enlisted one Saturday in April at Chapman Forest. President Clinton signed Executive Order 13112 on February 3, 1999 to require each and every Federal agency to prevent "the introduction of invasive species" "control populations of such species" and "restore native species and habitat conditions in ecosystems that have been invaded." It was war.
Commanded by Marc Imlay of the Southern Maryland Sierra Group and the Maryland Native Plant Society, our troops marched into the Chapman Forest to the Japanese honeysuckle battlezone, a half acre section of forest threatened by the foreign invader. Japanese honeysuckle, gold-and-white flowers with a heavenly scent and sweet nectar in June, didn't look like an invading army. But it is a rampant grower that spirals around trees, often strangling them.
Japanese honeysuckle is one of several hundred non-native plant species brought to North America that has no natural controls in its new home enabling it to out-compete and gradually displace native plants, even deep in forests and undisturbed ecosystems. Called "alie," "introduced" or "exotic," these non-native plant species are highly invasive. Some believe these non-native invaders pose the greatest threat to the survival of our native plants and wildlife species in the next century.
Bonnie Bick, Laurel and Elion Imlay, Lisa Walker, Emily Riehl-Bedford and Chris Bedford came to help in a mop out operation. The majority of the Japanese honeysuckle had been removed in an earlier operation. Our combat techniques included:
We did this in the early Spring or in the fall when native vegetation is dormant to facilitate spotting our enemy. We fought hard but the battle against Lonicera japonica isn't over. It will come back repeatedly until we get all the roots. So we plan to return.
For more information about control of invasive non-native plants, contact the Maryland Native Plant Society, P.O. Box 4877, and Silver Spring, Maryland 20914 Spring. You can email them at <firstname.lastname@example.org> and check out their website at www.eocities.com/RainForest/Vines/2996
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