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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.

UConn to Host Invasive Plant Conference on Oct. 11

Donna Ellis

Extension Educator Donna Ellis releasing biological controls.

UConn to host major invasive plant conference on October 11 

The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) will present a symposium on Tuesday,

October 11, 2016 at the Student Union, University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. The symposium will take place from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The symposium theme is Invasive Plants in Our Changing World: Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future. People with all levels of interest and experience are invited to attend. 

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.

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, recently retired from 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 – 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 symposium agenda and online registration are available at www.cipwg.uconn.edu. Early registration is $50 (postmarked on or before September 12); regular registration is $60 (postmarked AFTER September 12 or for walk-in registrations). Student fee (with valid student ID) is $25. Registration includes parking and lunch. In addition, Pesticide Recertification and other Continuing Education Credits will be available. Attendees are advised to register early, as the last symposium had record attendance and sold out with 500 attendees. 

On-line registration is preferred, but if you would like to pay by check, please visit the CIPWG website at www.cipwg.uconn.edu to download the registration form and mail it in with your payment. For additional information, contact Donna Ellis at 860-486-6448; donna.ellis@uconn.edu.

CT Envirothon

Several UConn Extension educators worked at the Envirothon Event on May 21st. It’s a great event and well worth all the effort that goes into it. UConn Extension’s Donna Ellis made a presentation at the teacher’s workshop (as the technical expert) during the event on invasive species which is next year’s current issue challenge. This year’s current issue was urban forestry and Chris Donnelly was the technical expert.

giant hogweed

Be on the Lookout for Giant Hogweed, an Invasive Plant in Connecticut

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUConn and the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) are asking state residents to be on the lookout for Giant Hogweed, which typically blooms during July. Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is an invasive, non-native plant from Eurasia that was first identified in Connecticut in 2001. This Federal Noxious weed has now been confirmed in 25 towns in all 8 counties, with many of the populations under control. The sap of Giant Hogweed may cause skin to me more sensitive to sunlight and produce painful blisters. Numerous reports of suspect giant hogweed plants blooming in Connecticut have recently been received, but to date all of the 2013 reports have been negative. Several plants are sometimes mistaken for Giant Hogweed, such as the native cow parsnip, which is related to Giant Hogweed but blooms earlier in June.

Giant Hogweed is a biennial and perennial herbaceous plant that can grow up to 15 feet tall with leaves 5 feet long. The hollow stems of the plant are 2 to 4 inches in diameter. Large numbers of small white flowers are borne on umbel-shaped inflorescences that can grow to 2.5 feet across. Mature seeds can survive in the soil for up to seven years and can float on water for several days, further spreading the plants to new areas. Giant Hogweed has invaded natural areas such as riverbanks and woodland edges, where it displaces native plants and upsets the ecological balance of these important habitats, and it has also been accidentally introduced into managed landscapes.

UConn and the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) are conducting educational outreach to alert the public about Giant Hogweed and its serious health hazards. The CIPWG website (www.cipwg.uconn.edu/giant_hogweed) has information on Giant Hogweed with plant descriptions, photos, control options and an online reporting form.

To report a Giant Hogweed sighting, we recommend that you first visit the CIPWG website and compare your suspect plant with the photos and descriptions provided. You can then report the plant online via the CIPWG website (click on the link “Report Hogweed sighting”) or contact Donna Ellis at UConn (email donna.ellis@uconn.edu or call 860-486-6448). To control Giant Hogweed, follow control recommendations on the CIPWG website. Always wear protective clothing while handling the plants.

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Photos by Donna Ellis for UConn.