What are your thoughts? Ponder away…
17 June 2014– An update on the status of wild chervil. Depending on where the plants are sited, most of them have flowered by now and are setting seed. We’re at the point, in central Vermont, where those seeds are now likely viable. Or at least the risk of that is very real.
If you were unable to prevent the chervil from flowering, there is still something you can do to break that heavy seed rain. The seeds hang on for about another month yet as the plant dries out.
Theoretically, you can collect those seed heads and save yourself a lot of work or frustration next year. Don’t try to do this everywhere, but if there are places with only a few colonizing chervil plants, definitely act on them. The idea is to keep an infestation confined to a few hot spots rather than having it all over the place.
Don’t worry about pulling the plant – it should die off now that it has seeded- but do be pro-active and gather up those seed heads in a bucket or bag. And destroy them.
Once the seeds start to shake loose, however, stay out of wild chervil infestations; you’ll only be helping the plant spread to new locations if you get the seeds all over you and your equipment. Chervil seeds, black when dried out, stick to almost everything so it’s best to stay out of areas where you can see the old dry stalks at the end of summer. And be aware that the soil likely contains viable seeds, in great numbers.
31 October 2013– Working the shrub invaders for a couple more weeks. Big differences to be seen between treatments for common versus glossy buckthorn – notes will be available on the Exchange page. Take care of that soil – improvements now have huge impacts in the spring.
9 August 2013– A big THANK YOU to all for your interest in controlling wild parsnip, the “danger plant” with a real and present impact on safe access to our productive lands and recreations areas. I pulled over 37,000 wild parsnip these last couple months, and I know that translates into at least 96 acres of land protected or under intensive management. There is NO state plan to deal with these ever-larger infestations, but I will continue to advocate for that. Also great to see landowners cooperating to address early infestations together without stressing over property boundaries. Thank you again! I think I’ll move on to some other species now…
26 June 2013– Time once again for the annual warning on wild parsnip. Photo-activated sap and scars that last a year. Not to be messed with. There’s a photo down below that I posted in 2011 – you can click on it and zoom for an up-close look. And you can always send a photo my way if you need a positive identification. By the way, the plants in the site banner above are giant hogweed, a little “gone by” since the photo was taken in September. But the instructive take-away is that parsnip and hogweed grow in dense patches, no surprise at all since they drop thousands of seeds in their immediate shadow. You may see them in long lines along a roadside or a ditch or even at recreation fields. If the soccer ball goes into the parsnip, don’t go in after it. Wait till maybe October!
5 July 2012– Attention out there, hear ye, hear ye… “seed rain” has begun for many of the heavy seeding invasives. I have not tracked down any garlic mustard for reference, but wild chervil is definitely dropping seeds. What this means is that the seeds have dried and are raining down onto the ground or sticking to clothes, shoes, vehicles, and whatever else they come in contact with. Chervil in particular seem to be perfectly adapted for spreading in this fashion. Do whatever you need to do to prevent the transport of seeds into un-infested areas – PLEASE! And if you attempt to collect the seeds onto a tarp or into a bucket, certainly do change out of your shoes, wash out your boots, shake out your hair, and inspect your gloves, before you leave the site. Tools as well…. again, chervil seeds seem to stick to everything. A little prevention can serve us well here.
13 May 2012– Goutweed (or bishop’s weed) is a hot topic this spring, judging by the questions that I receive. It was sold in the past in its variegated form, but is known to revert back to the more aggressive all-green variety. The photo illustrates the manner in which these variegated plants jumped the wall and escaped cultivation, now spreading vegetatively along a drainage. Very hard to control at this point, by any method.
23 July 2011 -Ran into this character today. Not literally, but I wouldn’t want to play night frisbee in this field. Meet bull thistle, and yes, this plant was taller than me. The stalk was easily 5 inches wide.
Bull thistle can be pulled out (I’ve done it without gloves, but I’d go with the gloves, and even perhaps someone else’s hands). They will gradually take over areas, so removal is a good idea. Lay them someplace to dry out, and keep those seed cones contained.
23 July 2011– We’re seeing the full splendor of wild parsnip now as it flowers and forms large seed heads. Avoid contact with this plant, particularly the sap.
And especially on sunny days! It will leave you with quite the rash. You’ll find it roadside and in many fields that are not maintained or mowed.
14 July 2011 – Saw my first jewelweed in flower – great color. They are natives, but yes, quite invasive….although controllable. Just push them back a bit by uprooting now if you want to hold them out of key areas. I’ll have some thoughts on safety tomorrow.
Folks, please be aware of wild parsnip –
It is on a tear this year….I’ve heard of four people so far getting this on their skin and suffering severely as a result. The sap is photo-activated, but don’t take any chances. I believe the plants are just beginning to flower, so if you see yellow flowers on a plant about 4-5 feet tall, avoid all contact and keep children out of the area.
This is a black swallow-wort vine emerging in mid-May. They have begun flowering by now, and will begin forming their seed pods soon. Those seed pods release a lot of wind-borne seeds, so pull these vines now (and probably once more) if you want to prevent that airborne spreading.