Nuisance and Invasive Species

Humans are responsible for almost all of the invasive plant and animal problems.  We have caused major ecological problems by introducing alien species into a new area perhaps because we are familiar with a plant from a prior house or simply because it looked pretty.  The problem is that there are not natural pests or diseases to control the spread of the non-native plants thus enabling them to over take and choke out the native plants. It is generally accepted that one species supports 10 species of animals.  This means, therefore, that if an invasive plant takes over a habitat, the impact of those lost native species will be measured in not only lost plants but in lost birds and animals as well.  It also means that tax-payer monies are used to remove invasives from the lakes and public lands; money that could be directed to other uses were the problems of invasive plants to be reduced.

As noted earlier, many of the problems occur as a result of landscapers planting non-native plants in Mountain Lakes’ gardens.  Examples are: Norway maple, Japanese Barberry, Asian Bittersweet, English Ivy, Mimosa, Wisteria, Japanese Honeysuckle, Bugleweed, Bamboo, Day Lily, Purple Loosestrife, Tansy and Dame’s Rocket.   Other plants have escaped local or federal projects such as: Multi-flora Rose, Crown Vetch and Russian and Autumn Olive. In their native locations these plants are wonderful but not here in New Jersey.

Some of the worst invasives in our woodlands are: Garlic Mustard, Japanese Barberry, Asian Bittersweet, Winged Euonymous (Burning Bush), Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven), Norway Maple, Polygonum (Japanese Knotweed), Privet, English Ivy and Multi-flora Rose. We also have a Purple Loosestrife problem, hopefully under control, at Sunset Lake.

For tips on how to control or remove invasive trees like Norway Maple, go to the National Park Service site at: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/control-trees.htm