Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Monster Swallowing our Trees

Early November is the best time of the year to recognize Asian bittersweet, that invasive interloper who's taking over our forest edges. Most of the leaves are off the hardwood trees, but the round leaves of bittersweet are bright yellow and will persist for another week or so.

Go outside and look up. Do you see a yellow-leafed vine scrambling up your trees & over your shrubs? It's most likely bittersweet and it needs to be cut down before it envelopes the trees like the picture above. So get out the clippers, loppers and hand saw. Some vines will be as big around as a man's arm, and will eventually kill a tree by either crowding out the sunlight, squeezing the trunk, or making it so top-heavy that it will break the trunk or topple in a strong wind.
Try to uproot the beast, (the orange roots are diagnostic) but if you cut the vine, it will sprout next year, so plan on going back and recutting next spring. Keep after it!
If each of us kept our patch of Mother Earth clear of this monster we'd go a long ways towards eliminating a major threat to our woodlands. Otherwise, our forests here in the Northeast will eventually look like the sad picture above.

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