Help Fuller Brook Park stay neat and tidy at a clean-up event on Sunday, October 6, 1pm – 3pm. Friends and neighbors will work on and around the path between Dover Road and Cottage Street. Email Jay Prosnitz at [email protected] to sign up.
Prosnitz has been the park’s consistent warrior against the invasive species that keep trying to retake the park. His particular nemesis: bittersweet, with black swallowwort as a close second.
Prosnitz has help keeping invasive plant species at bay from Cambridge-based Parterre. According to Cricket Vlass, Landscape Planner for the Town of Wellesley, the landscaping company’s invasives management division comes in one per week to focus on removal of vegetation that threatens to take over an area. “They’ve made a big difference in management of unwanted species. We don’t have bittersweet growing up in the trees. The knotweed is under control, but still must be kept covered with black tarp to keep it from taking over spots.”
The big three invasives in Fuller Brook Park:
- Bittersweet It’s out control in woodlands and roadsides all over New England. Unchecked, the climbing vine will engulf the landscape and win every competition with native trees and shrubs. The ornamental will climb up trees and become so tangled and heavy that the tree can eventually come down. At garden club, I’ve heard talks from floral designers who won’t include bittersweet in their creations because they see doing so as supporting a plant bully. The United States Department of Agriculture has bittersweet listed as a national invasive species.
- Black swallowroot is a perennial vine that grows up to seven feet in length. The leaves are shiny and dark green, and the flowers are small and dark purple. The roots run deep, and the seeds spread on the wind from milkweed-like seed pods. Swallowroot grows fast and covers other vegetation (just ask my fern bed). The plants are toxic to many insect larvae including monarch caterpillars.
- Knotweed has been used as an erosion control plant in areas (although not in Wellesley), and was even sold through seed and plant catalogs in the 1930s. The problem with knotweed is it’s not satisfied to just control erosion. It has to control the world. I’ve fought knotweed ever since I bought my home 17 years ago. After closing on the house, like a proud homeowner I walked the land, plot plan in hand. I soon realized I had a squatter which had long ago declared dominion over a substantial part of my yard. The knotweed claimed a clearcut case of eminent domain, and it was fully prepared to dig in its rhizomes and fight. One of us had to go, and it wasn’t going to be me. We still do battle, and the knotweed is just waiting for me to grow bored with this silly game we play. It eyes the peony beds, the horseshoe pit, the badminton area, poised to gobble up all as soon as I let down my guard. In England, knotweed is such an issue that British banks won’t give a mortgage to a property with knotweed on its grounds or even with knotweed growing nearby, unless a management plan is in place. What if the knotweed growing nearby is on your neighbor’s property? What if your neighbor doesn’t want to be managed?If all this talk about the evils of monster plant life has convinced you to take up arms agains those that threaten our way of landscaping, contact the Natural Resources Commission. They can help you organize a cleanup in your neighborhood.Until then, here are a few pics from an early autumn walk along the Fuller Brook Park path: