We aren’t just Cider House Bed and Breakfast, we are Cider House Farm, and we are very focused on being good stewards of our 21 acres. In the two years we’ve owned this property we have planted hundreds of plants:
- 150 baby apple trees
- 25 berries
- Four native plant gardens
- Two vegetable gardens
But we are also working hard on UN-planting the plants that don’t belong here. The English Ivy under the border of mature white pines is now largely eradicated, but we’re still working on it under the hemlocks and boxwoods, where it is busily climbing and strangling the trees. Every fence line had Japanese Honeysuckle vines, Callery Pear, and Autumn Olive trees, and the unmowed area around the pond in the back of the property had a whole grove of invasive, thorny, Callery Pears,* pictured above.
Invasive plants are plants that are not native to the United States and, without natural predators, aggressively spread. Since they didn’t co-evolve with our native insects and birds, they do not offer sustenance to them. And as they aggressively spread they crowd out the desirable native plants our birds, butterflies, and pollinators need. Not only do they spread where they are planted, they are accidently spread all over the area by birds and other animals, so your Bradford Pear may be responsible for all those Callery Pears along the roadside. So not only do we need to avoid planting invasive plants, it is worthwhile to actively remove them.
This is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. This post is my contribution! If you want more details, that link will get you to their webinars, and the US Forest Service also has resources this week. I especially want to highlight Blue Ridge PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) for year-round help in identifying and controlling invasive species in my area.
*A couple of decades ago the Bradford Pear hybrid was all the rage in our cities and suburbs. It is a pretty tree with white blossoms in early spring, and was supposed to be sterile. But it wasn’t sterile; its offspring reverts to the Callery Pear, native to China and Vietnam, which is now taking over our local roadsides and the US forest understory.