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Another invasive species appears

Another invasive species appears Another invasive species appears
Miranda Edge, Ag and Natural Resources, Extension Educator, Purdue Extension, Harrison County

Readers who have seen some of my previous articles may have already heard my pleas to do their part to reduce invasive species in Harrison County. This will be no different from my plea to manage Callery (Bradford) pear trees and poison hemlock on private and public land.

However, I’ve learned of a new species threatening some of my favorite public land: the Japanese hop.

Japanese hops were originally imported to the United States in the 1800s for use as an Asian tonic and ornamental vine. It is still sold in some stores today. The name might make you think of its distant cousin, the common hop, used to make beer. Unfortunately, this plant is less desirable for that purpose. It’s more closely related to hemp, falling in the same family, yet it is a bit more destructive.

The Japanese hop is a vining plant with a shallow root structure that prefers plentiful sunlight and moisture. It can climb shrubs and trees using its rough-textured stem, breaking off young growth and crowding out other plants suitable to the same environment. It is considered an annual, but can overwinter in mild climates.

The other way it survives, like many invasive species, is the dispersal of its seeds on animals (or humans), machinery and flood waters. It is prolific enough to have continuous growth and can start new plants in the right condition year-round.

I’ve been working during the past six weeks to make a dent in the coverage found at Hayswood Nature Reserve (check out my article on mob grazing). We certainly haven’t completely eradicated this invasive plant, but we’ve made a dent this first year.

With the parks blessing, I hope to continue efforts in managing this vining weed and creating more native habitat in its place.

For more information about this project, “like” the Harrison County Native Habitat Alliance Facebook page or contact me by email at [email protected] or by calling 812-738-4236.

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