Littleton Conservation Trust (LCT) News

Trustee Rick Findlay manages LCT’s Invasive Control Program. Littleton is not immune to the rampant destruction caused by invasive plants such as Mile-a-Minute vine, Glossy Buckthorn, Black Swallow-wort, Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Knotweed, Multiflora Rose, and Garlic Mustard.
Rick hopes to assemble a team of volunteers dedicated to tracking and controlling the spread of these plants.
NOW is the time to plan for 2020. If you can assist Rick in the quest to eliminate invasive plant species, please contact him at ricfin@comcast.net.
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much!

SVT’s Approach to Invasive Plant Management

Invasive species are the second greatest threat to biodiversity, second only to direct habitat destruction.

This SVT paper provides information on their general approach to invasive plant management and some specific details of the situation with invasive plants overrunning half the Smith property in Littleton and the potential approach to managing the invasive plants there. SVT has proposed indefinitely delaying the use of any chemicals at the Smith property until they can further investigate the claims and concerns of neighbors and residents.

Read the SVT Approach to Invasive Plant Management (PDF)

Garlic Mustard Update — time to bag it up

Garlic Mustard

From LCT Trustee and invasive species guru Rick Findlay:

Many thanks to all who have been helping our effort to control Garlic Mustard on conservation lands and throughout town. Plants are now setting seed and should be bagged after pulling. I have some blue bags specifically for this purpose that can eventually be dropped off at the transfer station. Anyone needing some can contact me.

I noticed something important with my work this year. I started early and thought that I had successfully cleared several areas only to discover, three weeks later, that there was a new crop up. They were small plants but setting seed, so it is important to go back and recheck areas that you have done.

Many thanks – Rick

Invasive Black Swallow Wort in Littleton

LCT Vice President and invasive species management advocate Rick Findlay spotted Black Swallow Wort in Littleton recently and is asking for your help in spotting and eliminating this invasive plant species before it can spread its airborne seeds.

Black or Louis’ swallow-wort (previously Vincetoxicum nigrum and Cynanchum nigrum) is a perennial, twining herbaceous vine. The leaves are oval shaped with pointed tips, 3-4 in. long by 2-3 in. wide, and occur in pairs along the stem. The small five-petaled star shaped flowers are dark purple to almost black with white hairs, about ¼ in. across, and are borne in clusters. The fruits are slender tapered pods, 2 to 3 in. long by about ¼ in. wide, turning from green to light brown as they mature. Plants have rhizomes (underground stems) that sprout new plants and grow in clumps which can form extensive patches.

Plant Control
Remove pod-bearing plants from the site and destroy them. Eradication on a small scale must be very thorough and requires dedication. The complete root crown must be dug out before the seeds ripen.

Collect and bag plants bearing seeds and dispose of them in heavy garbage bags. Infested land might be brought under control by plowing and planting an annual crop until the seed soil bank is depleted, possibly as long as five years.


Be on the lookout: Narrowleaf Bittercress

Narrowleaf Bittercress in Littleton
Narrowleaf Bittercress in Littleton
Photo by Rick Findlay

Narrowleaf Bittercress (Cardamine impatiens), a fast moving, invasive species has been spotted in Littleton. If you see this particular plant, pull it and let us know where you found it.

Cardamine impatiens produces many seeds per plant. It can form dense stands invading woodland habitats, and outcompete native species.

Read more about it at Invasive Plants of New England.

See where Narrowleaf Bittercress has already been reported on EDDMaps