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Invasives &News dgregg on 06 Jul 2010

Asian Longhorned Beetle Found in Boston

We received this urgent message at the office this morning. For more information on ALB follow the links below or see the other RINHS articles at:

Anyone who’s been to Worcester in the last 12 months knows this is potentially very big news, news that will likely come with a multi-million dollar price tag and change the face of Boston for a century. We will post more information at it is available.


—–Original Message—–
From: Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project [mailto:pestalert@massnrc.org]
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2010 11:51 AM
To: Ellis, Donna
Subject: Asian longhorned beetle found in Boston

This weekend a small infestation of Asian longhorned beetle was found in Jamaica Plain (Boston). The site is at Faulkner Hospital, just across from the Arnold Arboretum. Six infested maple trees were found so far, in close proximity to each other, and have already been removed by USDA/DCR. Surveys will continue this week to determine the extent of the infestation.

It is extremely important that we get the word out ASAP to everyone in the Boston, Brookline and Newton area to be on the lookout for:

1) Adult Asian longhorned beetles (shiny black beetles with white spots and long, banded antennae)

2) ALB exit holes (dime-sized, perfectly round holes, especially in maple, but also in birch, elm, horse chestnut, willow and other hardwood trees.but not oak)

3) ALB egg-laying sites (divots in the bark ranging in size from 1/4 to 3/4 inches across – fresh pits often have oozing, foaming sap)

Anyone seeing anything suspicious should report it immediately at http://massnrc.org/pests/albreport.aspx or call toll-free: 1-866-702-9938. Take photos if you can.

If you are with an environmental group or other organization that needs outreach materials, the Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources will provide you with ID cards, fact sheets, etc., for free. MDAR can also provide public speakers for ALB training sessions. Contact jennifer.forman-orth@state.ma.us or call 617-626-1735 for more info.

Spread the word, not the beetle! Get all the latest ALB news at: http://massnrc.org/pests/alb

Invasives &Plants dgregg on 19 Apr 2010

Conn. issues wetland invasive ID guide

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) has published an identification guide to Connecticut’s invasive aquatic and wetland plants. It can be downloaded via the below link (.pdf format, 8.8 MB). It’s dandy, so all you invasive species busters out there should take a look!
Conn. Ag. Exp. Sta. Guide

Events &Invasives &Training dgregg on 14 Jan 2010

Contractor Qualification Training March 5 & 8


Forest Invasive Plant Management Certification: March 5th & 8th 2010

The Forest Invasive Plant Management Certification will provide contractors with the necessary technical knowledge to control invasive species in and near forests using best management practices. This certification will also qualify contractors to bid on 2010 and 2011 Forest Health Works Projects.  The March 5th & 8th certification combines classroom and field-based training and will cover:

  • Invasive plant ID
  • Best management practices for invasives
  • Invasive Site visits and control demonstrations
  • Bidding Process
  • & More (Tentative Agenda coming soon)

Intended Audience: On-Site, Hands-on Contractors

This certification is being offered in conjunction with the CRMC Coastal Invasive Plant Management Certification.   For more information, please contact jbarnes at RINHS dot org Or come to a 30 minute informational sessions about the FHWP projects, bidding process, and certification  Feb 2nd & Feb 8th, 4:30pm at Weaver Auditorium in the Coastal Institute building on URI’s Kingston campus. MAP/DIRECTIONS

The joint application is available HERE.  The fee for the Forest Invasive Plant Management Certification is $100 for 1.5 days of training which includes instruction, handouts, and March 5th lunch. $80 job training scholarships for contractors are available through the RINHS.  These funds are provided by the U.S. Forest Service through a grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

How to Apply for a Forest Certification Scholarship

To apply please submit:

  • The Application
  • $20 Check (Payable to RI Natural History Survey — don’t include the full $100)
  • A cover letter describing your business, your business goals, and why you would benefit from this training (no more than one page total).

Scholarship spots are limited to the first 15 qualifying applicants. Interested contractors should submit materials by February 19th.  For more information, please contact jbarnes@rinhs.org.

Events &Invasives &News &Plants dgregg on 07 Aug 2009

Help Pull Stiltgrass in Burlingame

Volunteers are needed to pull Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) at Burlingame State Campground, in Charlestown, RI, Thursday, August 13th, 2009, at 10:00 a.m.

RI Department of Environmental Management Park Naturalist Neil Anthes will lead the charge against this big-time bad guy of the plant world.

Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), is an annual grass, native to Southeast Asia. The grass is believed to have arrived in the US in a packing crate of china delivered from Asia, and was first noted in Tennessee in 1919. Since then it has spread north and east.

Japanese stiltgrass can be most readily identified by the iridescent, silvery mid-vein on the upper leaf surface, and the “stilt-like” nature of the roots as they extend down from each leaf node.


In Rhode Island, the grass is considered an “early detection” species, of which there are five known locations throughout the state. The Burlingame site is largest of these, and includes locations within the adjacent Audubon Society of RI’s Kimball Refuge. It is found at camp sites and trail sides throughout the campground.

Japanese stiltgrass is of particular concern in forest environments, as it is well adapted to growing in low light conditions. The grass grows rapidly from July to September, forming dense mats, which cover existing native vegetation. Over the course of two seasons, dense stands of Japanese stiltgrass can out compete, and replace native herbaceous species. The grass is tolerant of moist conditions and so has the potential to spread throughout the wetland habitats surrounding the campground and along the Watchaug Pond shoreline. The seeds are buoyant and are easily carried through drainage ditches and streams. The seeds are also equipped with awns at the tip, which facilitate dispersal. The awns attach to bicycle tires, boots treads, animal fur etc. and then are carried further into the surrounding woodland habitat.

Because it is an annual, pulling before seed-set is an effective eradication technique. Removal of the grass by hand is easy, as it has short fibrous roots. August is the ideal time to pull the grass, as most of the seeds have germinated but most plants are only beginning to flower.

Please bring gloves and plenty of water, insect repellent and a lunch.

For more information and to sign up please contact either Neil Anthes via email at the following address: undefinedrecords@yahoo.com or Hope Leeson at the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (401) 874-5800, or hleeson@rinhs.org

Events &Invasives &News dgregg on 14 Jul 2009

August is Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month

Rhode Island Tree Council Announces Dates for Asian Longhorned Beetle Survey Trainings

Rhode Island’s trees need your help!  Last August, the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) was found in Worcester, Massachusetts, less than thirty miles from Rhode Island. This invasive pest is responsible for the devastation of over 25,000 of Worcester’s city and residential trees. Through a cooperative effort with USDA and Animal Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) is coordinating a comprehensive outreach & detection program for the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer, both highly detrimental invasive pests. RIDEM has partnered with the Rhode Island Tree Council to implement this program. Both RIDEM and the RI Tree Council will be conducting outreach and surveillance activities in August, during the peak time of the adult emergence of the Asian Longhorned Beetle, and need your help in the effort to keep Rhode Island ALB free!

The Asian Longhorned Beetle came to the United States in wood shipping crates from China and Korea over ten years ago and has wreaked havoc in New York, New Jersey, and Chicago. This beetle has the potential to wipe out millions of Rhode Island trees if it goes undetected. History has shown that public education is key to detection of this destructive pest.

RIDEM and the RI Tree Council are hosting sessions to provide information on the signs and symptoms of injury of these insects to increase awareness to you and the general public. In addition, we are also seeking volunteers to assist us in the survey activities planned during the month of August.

The upcoming dates of the training sessions are as follows:
9:30am-12pm, Thursday, July 16th at George Washington Management Area in Chepachet
9:30am-12pm, Friday, July 17th at The Warwick Public Library, small conference room
9:30am-12pm, Saturday, July 18th at Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, 399 Fruit Hill Ave., N. Providence
6pm-8:30pm, Monday, July 20th at The Warwick Public Library, large conference room

Surveys for beetles will be held in Warwick and Cranston in August, dates to be announced.

If you are interested in the trainings or surveys or you have any questions or need additional information visit www.ritree.org or contact the RI Tree Council’s ALB coordinator, Kate Sayles, at 401-764-5885 or albfreeri[at]gmail.com (make the usual substitution of [at] for @).

Invasives &Plants hleeson on 13 Apr 2009

Have you seen this plant?

Images of Mile-a-Minute Vine   mam_kgaffett_08.jpg

Have You Seen This Plant?

Two new observations of Mile-a-Minute Vine (Persicaria perfoliata, syn. Polygonum perfoliatum) were made in Rhode Island in September 2008, resulting in a total of three known locations, in three Rhode Island municipalities.

Mile-a-Minute Vine was first reported growing wild in Pennsylvania in the late 1930′s, and has spread north from there. Connecticut has eighteen known locations; most of which occur in the southwestern part of the state. Massachusetts has two locations. No sites are known for New Hampshire, Maine or Vermont. For this reason, land conservationists are pushing to eliminate Mile-a-Minute Vine in New England before it becomes pervasive. Experience from Connecticut has shown that while seeds are dispersed by natural means (birds, rodents and water), the primary mode of distribution is through humans moving soil or plant material that contain the seed.

Mile-a-Minute Vine is a highly invasive herbaceous vine that is native to Eastern Asia. The name, Mile-a-Minute Vine, comes from the plant’s ability to grow as much as 6 inches in one day; making Black Swallowwort seem like a slow-growing lichen. By the end of the growing season, plants form dense mats over existing vegetation. Although the species is an annual, vines persist through the winter giving new seedlings an ample armature on which to grow. Successive years of growth result in the death of underlying shrubs and herbaceous vegetation. The plant has been dubbed, “the Kudzu of the north”.

Mile-a-Minute Vine is tolerant of many growing conditions, with a preference for sunny, moist soils. The stem is covered with numerous downward pointing prickles, which give the plant its alternate common name, “Asian Tear-thumb.” The leaves are 1″ to 3” wide, forming a nearly perfect equilateral triangle. Prickles also occur along the mid-vein. A distinctive, saucer shaped leaf encircles the stem at each node. Seeds germinate in early to mid-May, with vines growing throughout the summer. Small white flowers appear in late August, and by September, the plant produces bright metallic blue berries which are fed on by birds and rodents. The fruits are buoyant, so preventing spread along water courses is of primary concern. The dense, barbed growth greatly impairs access to areas for people and wildlife, and some have nick-named Mile-a-Minute Vine “The Velcro Plant” because of the clinging nature of the stems.

Control of small populations is best achieved by hand pulling plants throughout the growing season, before fruit is set (generally mid-June to late September). Seeds remain viable in the soil for about seven years, so sites need annual attention to eradicate the plant. Herbicides, in the form of pre and post-emergent sprays, have also been effective, but must be used with a surfactant, and in accordance with the Label and state pesticide regulations.

Please help find and control this invasive plant. Click on the images above to enlarge the Mile-a-Minute Vine photos taken by Kim Gaffett on Block Island last fall. For more information, or to report a citing, call the Survey office at: (401)874-5800, send an email to: hleeson@rinhs.org, or go to the “RI Invasive Species Portal” at www.rinhs.org; and follow links to “contribute data”.

Several web sites can provide useful information on control and photographs of the plant to aid in identification: www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg and www.nps.gov/plants/ALIEN/fact/pepe1.htm. 

Exec's Blog &Invasives dgregg on 16 Jan 2009

Fight Invasives, Raise Money

Here’s an idea from Jung Seeds & Plants, a nursery outfit in Wisconsin. This picture is from the cover of their Spring 2009 catalog:

Bittersweet For Sale

Is your local land trust having a problem keeping the fields clear of bittersweet? Having trouble getting beyond a certain fundraising threshold? With bittersweet going for $16 a plant, now you can solve BOTH problems! Earn $10, $20, even $30,000 a month just by digging and mailing. Request a catalog from Jung yourself and find out how!

Or better yet, email your state representative and ask him or her why Rhode Island doesn’t have invasive plant legislation similar to Conn. and Mass. to make it illegal to sell plants that someone else is only going to have to eradicate? Is this some scheme to ensure full employment for herbicide manufacturers? You won’t know if you don’t ask.

Invasives dgregg on 30 Oct 2008

RI Water Chestnut Update Fall 2008

We think we had a successful campaign against water chestnut (Trapa natans) in Belleville Pond, North Kingstown, this summer. Of course we won’t really know until we get out there next June and look around. To coordinate the water chestnut eradication project this summer, RINHS was fortunate enough to get a URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS) Coastal Fellow, Laura D’Acunto. Many Survey friends will have met Laura at a water chestnut event, BioBlitz, or elsewhere this year. Laura’s position was funded with help from URI CELS and a mini-grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. Laura did a fantastic job and it was a pleasure having her working with the rest of the staff. This fall, she is continuing to develop outreach materials about water chestnut as part of a Coastal Fellows seminar. To all those who worked on the water chestnut project or others who are interested in it, you can read Laura’s end-of-season report (PDF: 171K).

RINHS expects to be back out on the water in North Kingstown next June to see how many plants come up: we already know there will be some. Hopefully there will be a dramatic reduction and further efforts next year will continue the population trend downwards. If you are interested in working on water chestnut, please contact RINHS and we will let you know when we begin forming teams for next year.

In other water chestnut news, RINHS and URI Watershed Watch sponsored an aquatic plant ID training class in September, with Survey botanist Hope Leeson at the helm. One attendee approached Hope afterwards concerned that water chestnut may be what’s covering his pond in Foster. Thanks to DEM for following up on this tip and confirming that, yes, indeed, there is a five acre private pond in Foster covered with water chestnut. That’s bad news for Rhode Island but a good demonstration that the loose network of organizations and volunteers that’s been coalescing around the invasives issue, with some trainings and publicity can provide valuable surveillance capability to Rhode Island. DEM will be working with the pond owner over the coming seasons to control this water chestnut outbreak. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled, especially in the northwest corner of the state, for evidence the plants are spreading.

Invasives &News dgregg on 26 Sep 2008

Chrysanthemum white rust (Puccinia horiana; “CWR”)

Here’s some hot news from our neighbor to the north (and east). The Massachusetts Introduced Pest Outreach Project reports that “Chrysanthemum white rust (Puccinia horiana, “CWR”), a serious fungal disease of chrysanthemums, has been discovered in Massachusetts. Infected plants were discovered at nurseries and at retail locations, with diagnoses confirmed by plant pathologists from USDA APHIS-PPQ. This pathogen can spread quickly in greenhouse and nursery environments, causing severe crop losses.

Over the last 25 years, localized introductions of chrysanthemum white rust have occurred within the United States or Canada and have subsequently been eradicated. Earlier this month, CWR was reported to have overwintered in an outdoor planting of mums at a residential property in Connecticut, and was also found at nurseries in Pennsylvania and Michigan. CWR is a pest of quarantine significance in the United States, requiring state and federal regulatory action. The MA Department of Agricultural Resources and USDA APHIS-PPQ are currently working together with nurseries to eradicate it from Massachusetts.

Chrysanthemum white rust attacks several species of chrysanthemums, including potted mums, spray mums, and garden mums. The symptoms of this disease are very distinct. Light green to yellow spots up to 5mm in diameter appear on the upper surface of the leaf. The spots become brown and necrotic with age. Raised beige to pink pustules form on the underside of leaves. These pustules become white with age. Pustules are most common on young leaves and flower bracts but may form on any green tissue or the petals. Symptoms are more likely to be observed during or following cool, wet weather.

For more information about chrysanthemum white rust, including lists of susceptible and resistant species and a detailed eradication protocol, see our fact sheet at http://massnrc.org/pests/pestFAQsheets/chrysanthemumwhiterust.html. If you think you have seen Chrysanthemum White Rust, please call the MDAR Plant Pest Hotline at 617-626-1779, or report it on this website: http://massnrc.org/pests/.”

The Mass. Introduced Pest Outreach Project is a nifty little program and you can learn more about it or sign up to receive you own email copy of their announcements by visiting their web site: http://www.massnrc.org/pests/

Events &Invasives dgregg on 26 Sep 2008

Invasive Aquatic Plant ID and Training

The Rhode Island Natural History Survey, URI Cooperative Extension’s Watershed Watch Program, and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management are sponsoring an evening educational program entitled, “What’s in the pond? A look at freshwater invasive plants and their management.” The presentation will be held on Tuesday, October 7 from 6-8:30 pm, in the Weaver Auditorium located in the Coastal Institute Building on URI’s main campus in Kingston. The event is open to the public (including our neighbors in Connecticut and Massachusetts), however advance registration is required as seating is limited. The cost to attend is $5.00, payable at the door. Light refreshments will be provided. Please register by Monday October, 6th through the URI Watershed Watch office at 401-874-2905 or 401-874-4552, or via email.

Although aquatic plants are a beneficial component of freshwater pond ecology, the proliferation of non-native species can have a negative impact on the health and function of a waterbody. Generally referred to as “exotic, invasive, or weeds”, non-native plants can crowd out native aquatic plants, reducing biodiversity, a healthy mix of plants and animals, as well as harm water quality. The evening presentation will focus on the ecology of aquatic plants, the invasive species presently known to be in Rhode Island waters, as well as some that are in our neighboring states. Management techniques will be presented as well as a discussion of Rhode Island’s new Aquatic Herbicide application process.

As a part of the event, the Rhode Island Natural Survey will accept freshwater aquatic plants for identification. A maximum of 5 plants will be accepted per participant. Those bringing in plants for identification will be asked to fill out a form detailing where the plant was collected (Aquatic Plant ID Submission Tag PDF 91K). Plants submitted for identification should be presented as follows: Collect one specimen of the plant, ensuring that the specimen contains all representative leaf types. Many aquatic species have a combination of underwater (submerged) leaves and above water (emergent) leaves and/or flowering structures. It is also important to collect representative flower or seed structures if possible, as they are often crucial for correctly identifying a plant. Flowers may be inconspicuous as they are often very small and may be somewhat hidden by being located where a leaf attaches to the stem.

Gently rinse all debris and dirt from the plant and its root structure. Place the cleaned specimen in a sealed plastic bag with enough tap water to keep the plant moist. Keep the bagged plant refrigerated until you deliver it to the RINHS staff on the night of October 7th.

This program is part of RINHS’s Skills Workshop series. The ongoing series of evening programs is designed to provide training for naturalists and would-be naturalists in practical skills such as specimen preparation and identification and use of specialized equipment and literature. In 2008-09, the series is sponsored by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

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