View across a cleared area. Photo by David Watts

Wildflowers were planted after clearing. Photo by David Watts

If you live in Charlotte, you have invasive plant species living around you. Honeysuckle, garlic mustard, buckthorn… Ah, buckthorn. That beautiful green that stands out in the forest understory this time of year after all the other trees have lost their leaves. To remind us that Charlotte is in the epicenter of the buckthorn invasion of Vermont.

This is the time of year many consider whether the invasive plants on their property are becoming a problem, and it is time to plan how to keep them from spreading or try to eradicate them altogether. After all, removal is best done from now until spring.

All who might want to learn how to identify and control invasive plants on their property are invited to join a hands-on instructional session at the Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge this Sunday, November 3, from 9:30 a.m.  to 12:30 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by the Park Oversight Committee and the Charlotte Land Trust.

Participants will meet at the Greenbush Road parking area for the Park and Wildlife Refuge located just south of the railroad underpass.

Sue Smith and Jenny Cole, co-chairs of the Park Committee, will lead a tour of the park focused on the areas where invasive plants are of greatest concern and discuss work in the park over the past 10 years dealing with a range of different challenges. The focus will be on identifying a number of invasive plant species and on techniques for their removal.

In some areas of the park removal of dense concentrations of buckthorn and honeysuckle is the goal. In a different area the strategy is to simply monitor and manage a field that has been completely taken over by honeysuckle and prevent the plants from spreading further. Materials will be provided, including information on identifying, planning, managing and removing invasive species. Participants will also learn of resources available to property owners to address invasive plants.

After touring some of the park, participants will learn techniques for removal and abatement of invasive plants. Participants will then have the opportunity to use these skills in removing buckthorn and honeysuckle from a priority area. Volunteers who want to help with actual invasive removal should bring pruning loppers, a small folding saw, drinking water, work gloves and eye protection if they have them. Tools will also be available for participants to use. The event will wind up at 12:30 p.m. with the Park Committee’s famous apple muffins.

Everyone, including those with only a limited interest in invasive plants, is encouraged to come. There is never a bad time to experience the park’s interesting nature walk and one of the most spectacular views in the world. For further information or to confirm you are coming, contact David Watts, (802) 425-2876. Preregistration is not required.

David Watts is a member of the Charlotte Land Trust Board of Directors.