Notes July 16 — Invasive Species

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Gardeners Exchange Group: Meeting 16 July 2022
Speaker: Diane Niedzialkowski
Topic: Invasive Species

Another informative GEG meeting with a lively presentation and group discussion on Invasive Species. Diane, a retired science teacher, did a superb job of introducing the topic by stating that invasives can be plants (ex: garlic mustard), insects (jumping worm), birds (English Starlings), and even fish, competing with native species, and often overtaking them. There can be damage to the environment, people, and the economy! Diane brought with her samples of plants that are mostly not native to our region or even our country.

  • The Norway Maple, which poisons the soil and drops seeds twice yearly (those little helicopter seed pods).
  • Japanese Stilt Grass, brought to Tennessee in the 1920’s-30’s when it was used as packing material for china and discarded haphazardly. Stilt grass is deer resistant with seeds that can be viable for 5 years!
  • Japanese Barberry, favorites of some nurseries and landscapers (“sticker bushes” from my childhood), thorny bushes with berries that are eaten by birds, which spread the seed in their poop. Japanese Barberry creates a humid environment, attracting the black footed deer tick. The plant providers a good hiding spot for the mice that then carry the ticks to places where other animals and people are.
  • Garlic Mustard, which has a heart-shaped leaf and differs from the native species in that it has white flowers.
  • Poke Berry (Poke Weed) is a native species that can be a nuisance for gardeners. Diane’s advice is to “Get rid of it!”
  • English Ivy which often looks lovely on a brick building or climbing up a large tree, does harm to the mortar, leaving behind a mess when removed, and breaking down a tree’s bark allowing insects a pathway to invade the tree.

Members shared ways to deal with Japanese Beetles (hand-picking and dropping them in a container of soapy water), mosquitoes (“burning” coffee grounds on a saucer incense-style), and stinkbugs (anybody … anybody???).

While enjoying a potluck breakfast spread, we all agreed this was a first-rate presentation worthy of our applause! Thank you, Diane!

Submitted by Kathleen Dillon