Invasive Species

Invasive species.  No, this article is not about aliens from another world invading the planet.  Rather it’s about invasive species of insects, plants, and animals. The U.S. Government defines invasive species as follows : “Invasive species” means an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

USDA has proclaimed April to be Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month.

Accordingly, April is the perfect time to learn about invasive species at Fountain Rock Park & Nature Center.  Does Fountain Rock Park & Nature Center have invasive pests?  Why yes, yes we do! Stop by the park and talk with our staff or one of our volunteers and they will be happy to explain or answer any questions you may have on invasive species.  

Invasive plants range from the seemingly harmless English Ivy and honeysuckle vines to mile-a-minute vines.  These vines are not native to our area and often times can crowd out or strangle native plants.  Mile-a-minute is so named due to it’s quick growth rate.

But it is not just plants that are invasive.

Many trees in Maryland are at risk due to the Emerald Ash Borer, European Gypsy Month, and chestnut blight. These insects and diseases have destroyed thousand of trees in Maryland.  Of course, no list of invasive species in our area would be complete without mentioning the Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (yuck).

Image

(photo used with permission under wikipedia creative commons license)

The brown marmorated stink bug is believed to have originated in China.  It feeds on a large variety of plants and trees. It is known for spoiling apples and grapes and giving them a very distasteful flavor.

How do invasive species invade our area?  It is believed that most of the invasive insects, plants and animals are accidently introduced to the area.  This can happen when the invasive species hitches a ride in packing materials, firewood, or on nursery plants transported into the area. 

Want to know more?  The United States Department of Agriculture has an excellent website on invasive species.  It is found at:  http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov

Fountain Rock Park & Nature Center has a group of “Weed Warriors” volunteers who work at the park on a weekly basis trying to keep invasive plants at bay. photo 1

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