Invasive tree conquers South

in Morning Ag Clips

The tallow tree, a “super invader” with toxic leaves and no natural enemies in North America, is conquering the South.

Overtaking forests from Texas to Florida, tallows grow three times faster than most native hardwoods, and each one casts off 100,000 seeds a year. Controlled burns haven’t stopped their spread, nor have herbicide sprays from helicopters. Cutting them down works only when each stump is immediately doused with chemicals. Harvesting them for biofuel remains more a promise than a practical solution. Continue reading

Free invasive plants tool kit for teachers

by Beverly James, University of Florida IFAS

Science and agriculture teachers across the nation now have a new tool to teach students about invasive plants, thanks to researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative at the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (CAIP) has partnered with The Aquatic Plant Management Society (APMS) to produce a 16- minute video presentation, “Silent Invaders,” for teachers to introduce students to the concepts of invasive aquatic plants and their management with examples from across the United States. “Silent Invaders” provides a basic introduction to invasive plants, along with the key concepts of aquatic versus terrestrial and also native, non-native and invasive plant species, said Dehlia Albrecht, UF’s Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative coordinator. Continue reading

Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council to meet Oct. 30 at UGA-Griffin

by Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia

The Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council will examine the control and management of invasive insects and plants at the council’s annual conference on Monday, Oct. 30, at the University of Georgia Griffin campus.

The daylong educational event is co-sponsored by UGA-Griffin, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Department of Horticulture and the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture. The conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Continue reading

Event in North Carolina highlights the good and bad of kudzu

In the Mountain XPress

by Kari Barrows

For a reviled invasive species, kudzu has a surprising number of fans. Nancy Basket is one. The artist first encountered the plant when she moved to South Carolina from the Pacific Northwest in 1989.

“Nobody liked it — everybody had jokes about it,” Basket recalls. “But I’m Cherokee on my dad’s side, German on my mother’s, and I have a different outlook. Just like some people can dog-whisper, I could kind of whisper to plants, and I felt kudzu was reaching out, trying to find somebody that liked it.” Continue reading

Registration open for Ohio River Valley Woodlands and Wildlife Workshop

by Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

The Ohio River Valley Woodlands and Wildlife Workshop returns to Kentucky on March 25.

This year’s workshop, a tri-state event covering Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, will be held in the Boone County Cooperative Extension Enrichment Center in Burlington. Forestry experts will provide an array of forestry- and wildlife-related educational sessions to help woodland owners get the most from their properties. Continue reading

USDA scientist looks for natural enemies in Asia to control invasive plants

By Sharon Durham, Agricultural Research Service

This June, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) ecologist Melissa Smith traveled to Asia to collect insects that can control the spread of several invasive plant species in the United States that originated in Asia.

Predator and prey co-evolve in nature’s “arms race” for survival. When plants and animals are moved from their native habitats to new locales where they have no natural enemies, their populations can grow unchecked. Continue reading

Registration open for tri-state Woodlands and Wildlife Workshop

By Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

The Ohio River Valley Woodlands and Wildlife Workshop will be held April 2 in Madison, Indiana. The annual workshop provides an array of forestry- and wildlife-related educational opportunities to help woodland owners get the most from their properties.

Sponsored by the Cooperative Extension Services of University of Kentucky, Purdue University and The Ohio State University, as well as the Indiana Forestry and Woodland Owners Association, the one-day workshop will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT at Clifty Falls State Park. Purdue will host this year’s event. Continue reading