A twilight Celery Farm walk
Goldfinch in full bloom

Invasive plants



    I wrote a big story for The Record yesterday on invasive species.


   I decided to do it after garlic mustard really starring appearing on my radar screen.

   There was some discussion of how to pull it up in the Celery Farm, and I noticed on a trip to Hawk Mountain that volunteers on boardwalks there were pulling the weed and putting it into black plastic bags.

    I called a few other natural areas, and the directors and rangers all had their lists of nasty invasives. Garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed seemed to rank high on the list.

    When I walk through the Celery Farm these days, I see all sorts of plants competing -- some good and some bad.

    The Japanese knotweed by the Franklin Turnpike entrance is semi-amok  (photo at the top of this post). I often trim it back with clippers, but it is probably nine or ten feet tall in places.

     It blocks the views of the Celery Farm entirely, and it has migrated into my backyard. Unchecked, it will eventually spread to the driveway and actually grow up right through the macadam.

    I plan to attack it as best I can in the next couple days -- time I could be spending on "more important" projects.

    I do not profess to be any sort of plant expert -- far from it -- but I think I saw some Japanese stiltgrass Stiltgrass as well.

    These invasives typically grow fast and spread like poison ivy. They are best addressed before they get too big a foothold, or they require constant attention.

   Garlic mustard seeds can lay dormant for seven years before sprouting. My guess is that volunteers will be pulling up garlic mustard in the spring at the Celery Farm for the foreseeable future.

    The good news is that the ironweed seems to be flourishing (birds and butterflies love it), and I am seeing plenty of jewelweed.

    You don't need to live near the Celery Farm to have invasive plants like garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed sneaking into your yard.

   When I run on River Road in Bogota, N.J., I notice knotweed in a side yard, right next to the sidewalk. You might want to check the fringes of your yard, yank the nasty stuff and put it plastic bags for disposal.