‘Pulling Together’ — against the invaders among us
Well over a decade ago, the Peterborough Conservation Commission donated the two Norway maple trees planted in front of the police station on Grove Street. That was before we learned about invasive plant species and the toll they take on natural communities of plants and animals (humans included). Norway maples were among the first plants whose sale and/or transport was prohibited by the state.
Awareness about the aggressive spread of invasive plants is growing locally and well beyond — the economic loss in farm and forest lands (billions of dollars annually); water quality issues; and loss of wildlife habitats.
Going to press this week is a brochure the ConCom and Open Space Committee have worked up that presents the challenges of 12 invasive plants in our region as well as a 13th species on a watch list.
Always, early detection is key before the plants spread and great single-species density is reached.
The brochure explains the negative impacts; IDs the problem plants (90 percent of introduced plants do not become invasive bullies that land on the state’s list of prohibited plants); and describes control methods.
As one example of negative impacts, when Norway maples escape from backyard (and police station yard) plantings, they spread to form a single-species mass that outcompetes our native sugar and red maples.
Earth Day coincides with the greening of spring — including invasives, most of which leaf out first as one of several competitive advantages. Fortunately, with a few ID tips the invasives are easy to recognize.
We’ll be distributing the brochure at the Greenerborough Expo May 3 and lots of other places. It’s titled “Pulling Together” as that’s what’s needed: community awareness and joining others to dig, yank and pull.
Francie Von Mertens serves on the Peterborough Conservation Commission.