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Controlling Oriental Bittersweet

Controlling Oriental Bittersweet

By Donna Ellis, Senior Extension Educator

This article was originally published in a longer format in the Eastern CT Forest Landowners Assn. Newsletter 39(1):1-3; 5.

 

Connecticut’s fields, forests, suburban backyards, and urban parks are under threat, imperiled by non-native plants from the faraway continents of Europe and Asia or in some cases from other regions of the U.S. Invasive plants are a problem because they establish easily and grow aggressively, disperse over wide areas, displace native species, and reduce biological diversity. These plants invade not only terrestrial habitats but water bodies as well, where they can grow and proliferate undetected for many years. Some invasive plants are more newsworthy because of their beauty (purple loosestrife), their poisonous traits (giant hogweed), or homeowner frustrations trying to control them (Japanese knotweed).

bittersweet vine

Bittersweet vine wrapped around a tree. Photo: Donna Ellis

How do we reduce the harmful environmental impacts of woodland invasive plant species? Let’s talk about one of the most troublesome woodland invaders, Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), also known as Asiatic bittersweet. Oriental bittersweet was first confirmed in Connecticut in 1916 and today can be found in all towns statewide. Originally from Eastern Asia, this species was first introduced in the US in the 1860’s as an ornamental.

The woody vines of Oriental bittersweet, with reddish-orange roots begin as small, sometimes unnoticeable seedlings in the forest understory. Within several years, if their growth is undetected the young vines will develop from a tangled mass growing along the forest floor to wrap around desirable vegetation: trees and shrubs, or any other vertical structure they encounter. The alternate leaves of Oriental bittersweet are rounded (orbicular; as described by the genus), with fine teeth or serrations along the edges. Clusters of small greenish flowers are produced on female vines in May, followed by the development of red, succulent fruits (ovaries) enclosed in a yellow covering (the ovary wall) that splits open when fruits mature. The fruits consist of three fleshy arils encasing several seeds each. Oriental bittersweet fruits are fed upon by birds and other wildlife in the fall and winter, and the seeds disperse to new locations with the movement of wildlife.

How can Oriental bittersweet be successfully controlled? There are several options for management of this invasive, with the greatest successes occurring when

bittersweet seedling

Bittersweet seedling. Photo: Donna Ellis

control begins early and woodlands are monitored for several years. Learn to recognize what young seedlings look like, and they can be easily hand pulled during the first year or two of growth. I make a point of walking through the wooded sections of my property several times during the summer and fall and pull up Oriental bittersweet seedlings, which I typically find under conifers and other trees where birds roost. If vines have been growing undetected for many years and you have dense, woody vines wrapped around desirable vegetation, cut out a section of the vine (several inches in length) in late summer to early fall, separating the top growth from the crown and roots. This mechanical control method will stress the vines and force the plants to use up food reserves in the roots to develop more shoots, and the top growth will die and slowly break down. You will need to continue to cut any regrowth that forms from the crown for several years, but if this method is practiced diligently it can be successful.

A chemical control option is the “Cut and Paint” method, which should also be done in late summer to early fall. Make a similar cut in the vine as described above, and within 20 to 30 minutes, carefully apply a concentrated herbicide (triclopyr products are most effective with woody invasives) to the lower cut surface with a paint brush or other applicator, reading and following all directions on the herbicide label. Avoid making herbicide applications on rainy or windy days, and be sure to avoid herbicide runoff onto the forest floor or onto non-target vegetation. Monitor control sites the following year, and if necessary, repeat the Cut and Paint procedure.

Visit the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) website (www.cipwg.uconn.edu) for information on invasive plant topics that include identification, management, the Connecticut state list of invasive plants, a photo notebook with a gallery of invasives, non-invasive alternative plants, legislative updates, and a calendar listing invasive plant management events and other outreach activities. CIPWG is a consortium of individuals, members of environmental organizations, and affiliates of municipal and state agencies whose mission is to promote awareness of invasive plants and their non-invasive alternatives.

CIPWG Invasive Plant Symposium

CIPWG logoSpace is still available at the CIPWG Invasive Plant SymposiumInvasive Plants in Our Changing World: Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future, which will be held at the UConn Student Union in, Storrs, CT on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  The symposium will be presented by the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG).  People with all levels of interest and experience are invited to attend.  Please visit the CIPWG website for the symposium program, registration information, and directions:http://cipwg.uconn.edu/2016-symposium/.

The following Pesticide Recertification Credits and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available at the CIPWG Invasive Plant Symposium:

  • CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Pesticide Applicator Recertification: 5 Credit Hours in the following categories: PA, ALL (available for New England states)
  • Certified Master Gardeners can receive two (2) Advanced Master Gardener (AMG) class credits.
  • Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD): The keynote presentation has been approved for 1 APLD CEU. Each afternoon session (Sessions 1 through 6) has been approved for 1.25 APLD CEUs.
  • Connecticut Accredited Nursery Professional (CANP) [Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association]: 1 Credit
  • Certified Connecticut Forest Practitioners Continuing Education: 2 CEU’s
  • Subject matter appropriate for 4.0 hours of continuing education for Connecticut-licensed landscape architects
  • Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist (MCH) [MA Nursery & Landscape Association, Inc.]: 1 Credit
  • New York State Board for Landscape Architecture
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals (AOLCP): 4 Credits
  • Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist (RICH) [RI Nursery and Landscape Association]: 2 Credits

Attendees are advised to register early, as the last symposium had record attendance and sold out in advancewith 500 attendees.

REGISTRATION FEE: $60; $25 – STUDENT (must bring current ID)

For additional information, please contact Donna Ellis at 860-486-6448; donna.ellis@uconn.edu.

Invasive Plant Symposium Early Registration Ending

CIPWG SYMPOSIUM:

Invasive Plants in Our Changing World: Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future

Presented by the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG)

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Student Union, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

 

CIPWG logoThis 8th biennial conference features national, regional, and local experts as well as citizen volunteers sharing practical solutions for invasive plant management and actions needed to promote native species and improve wildlife habitat.  The symposium is open to the public and will include introductory information about invasive plants.  People with all levels of interest and experience are invited to attend.

Nationally-recognized Keynote speaker, Jil Swearingen, co-author of Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas will present, “We’re Moving on Up: Invasive Plants Heading North”.  Karl Wagener, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, will speak on “Connecticut’s Future: Rooted in Choice”.  William Hyatt, Vice Chair of the Connecticut Invasive Plants Council, will provide a legislative update.  Charlotte Pyle, formerly with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will deliver closing remarks.

Concurrent afternoon sessions will include:

  • What Are Other States Doing? Panel discussion with New England invasive plant experts.
  • Native Plants for our Pollinators– Creating a balanced and healthy pollinator environment.
  • Management of Key Invasives: Success Stories and Progress Reports
  • Biological Control: No Animal Too Small– Learn about these valuable invasive plant management tools.
  • Aquatic Invasive Plants – Updates on Hydrilla and other new aquatic invasive plant threats.
  • Plants to Watch Out For: Future Threats– What are the new invasives that threaten our borders?

Research and management posters, an invasive plant identification area, and other educational exhibits will be featured throughout the day.  The registration fee includes parking and lunch.  Pesticide Recertification Credits and other continuing education credits (CEU’s) will be available.

Attendees are advised to register early, as the last symposium had record attendance and sold out in advancewith 500 attendees.

REGISTRATION FEE: $50 – EARLY postmarked or online by September 12$60 – REGULAR postmarked or online after September 12; $25 – STUDENT (must bring current ID)

The symposium agenda, online registration, and mail-in registration form are available athttp://cipwg.uconn.edu/2016-symposium/

For additional information, please contact Donna Ellis at 860-486-6448; donna.ellis@uconn.edu.

Early Registration Ends 9/12 for Invasive Plant Symposium

CIPWG logo

CIPWG SYMPOSIUM:

Invasive Plants in Our Changing World: Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future

Presented by the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG)

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Student Union, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

This 8th biennial conference features national, regional, and local experts as well as citizen volunteers sharing practical solutions for invasive plant management and actions needed to promote native species and improve wildlife habitat.  The symposium is open to the public and will include introductory information about invasive plants.  People with all levels of interest and experience are invited to attend.

Nationally-recognized Keynote speaker, Jil Swearingen, co-author of Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas will present, “We’re Moving on Up: Invasive Plants Heading North”.  Karl Wagener, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, will speak on “Connecticut’s Future: Rooted in Choice”.  William Hyatt, Vice Chair of the Connecticut Invasive Plants Council, will provide a legislative update.  Charlotte Pyle, formerly with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will deliver closing remarks.

Concurrent afternoon sessions will include:

  • What Are Other States Doing? Panel discussion with New England invasive plant experts.
  • Native Plants for our Pollinators– Creating a balanced and healthy pollinator environment.
  • Management of Key Invasives: Success Stories and Progress Reports
  • Biological Control: No Animal Too Small– Learn about these valuable invasive plant management tools.
  • Aquatic Invasive Plants – Updates on Hydrilla and other new aquatic invasive plant threats.
  • Plants to Watch Out For: Future Threats– What are the new invasives that threaten our borders?

Research and management posters, an invasive plant identification area, and other educational exhibits will be featured throughout the day.  The registration fee includes parking and lunch.  Pesticide Recertification Credits and other continuing education credits (CEU’s) will be available.

Attendees are advised to register early, as the last symposium had record attendance and sold out in advancewith 500 attendees.

REGISTRATION FEE: $50 – EARLY postmarked or online by September 12$60 – REGULAR postmarked or online after September 12; $25 – STUDENT (must bring current ID)

The symposium agenda, online registration, and mail-in registration form are available athttp://cipwg.uconn.edu/2016-symposium/

For additional information, please contact Donna Ellis at 860-486-6448; donna.ellis@uconn.edu.