Our February newsletter is now available, including articles about an on-line Living Landscape Function Calculator, the best native trees for southeastern PA, pickerelweed, and native grasses, sedges, and rushes.
Our January 2023 Chapter Newsletter is now available, including information on starting native seeds in milk jugs and native spring ephemerals.
Our December Chapter Newsletter is now available, including highlights of our program on collecting and saving seeds, and a listing of native plants for holiday decorations.
Our November 2022 chapter newsletter is now available, including a summary of our program on native plants for four-season interest and suggested plants for fall color.
Our October 2022 chapter newsletter is now available, including a summary of our program on the significance of plant genotypes and phenotypes, suggestions for keeping birds from striking your windows, a discussion of fall yard work, suggestions for streetside plantings, and a visit to a Master Gardener’s property.
The last meeting of 2022 for the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee to take action on banning plants injurious to the health of our farmlands, waterways, forests, parks, and private lands takes place on October 20, 2022. Here is the link to send your comments by email: [email protected] In the subject line, write “CPNWC Meeting Comments.” Comments will be accepted until October 19, the day before the meeting.
This time the committee is scheduled to vote on banning burning bush and four privet varieties, which as many of us know would be a huge benefit to protecting our native habitats. Please let them know how important this vote is. We also encourage you to ask them to keep to a 1-year phase-in period for the banned plants, as they have tended to extend this out to 2-3 years under pressure from the nursery industry.
- Burning bush escapes cultivation and spreads easily to natural areas, farm edges, and woodland properties, forcing out other species. It competes with native vegetation in forests and fields, forming dense thickets. Good native alternatives for fall color are Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), and aromatic sumac (Rhus aromatica).
- Privets are another group of shrubs that escape cultivation and form dense thickets dominating the understory in forest edges, along streams, and on farm field edges. It spreads by both seed and root suckers, quickly dominating areas where it takes hold. Alternatives: Any of the native viburnums, shrub dogwoods, and chokeberries (Aronia).
- The presence of privethas been shownto decrease arbuscular mycorrhiza fungal associations with native plants, reducing biomass of native shrubs and overall native biomass. Repression of these beneficial fungi continued even after privet had been removed.
- Both burning bush and privet prohibit regeneration and recruitment of native forest trees. Where regeneration has been suppressed, forests are replaced with fields of non-native shrubs once the present overstory trees die. This “arrested development” of the forest will have significant implications for our forests’ future in Pennsylvania.
In October, the committee will also be considering a group of the invasive honeysuckles for a possible vote in January. Please encourage a ban on these prolific and smothering vines and shrubs.
We also want to encourage the committee to consider banning Norway Maple and Butterfly Bush at their January meeting.
- Norway maple facts to share: The Norway Maple, producing prolific seeds, easily escapes into forests, parks, and natural areas from cultivation. It’s growth habit, with dense canopy and shallow root system, is such that is completely shades out the understory, preventing native trees, shrubs, and understory plants from emerging, altering our Pennsylvania forests in a negative way. Alternatives: Red Maple, Sugar Maple
- Butterfly bush (Buddleja) facts to share: This non-native ornamental has gained popularity for its colorful flower spikes, which are highly attractive to butterflies. With over 40,000 seeds on a single flower spike, this shrub has been able to spread rapidly, taking over native fields, shrub, creeksides, and woodland habitats. It does not provide habitat for butterfly caterpillars, as native flowering plants do, and its nectar has been found to have less nutritional content than native plants to provide necessary nectar for butterfly preparation for winter. Alternatives for butterflies: summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), northern bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), as well as native asters and goldenrods for late-season nectar.
The details of the meeting and how to submit a public comment are posted on the Department of Agriculture’s website close to the meeting date: https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/PlantIndustry/NIPPP/committee/Pages/Meeting-Information.aspx
This time they should have the link to join the meeting on their website close to the date.
In your letter or email, write from your own experience battling any of these on your land, on conservation lands and public parks where you may volunteer, or what you’ve seen in your trips to natural areas, PA forests, and parks.
- Mention your connection to the issue — a landowner, a professional landscaper, a conservationist, Audubon member, etc.
- This committee is geared toward agricultural interests, so mentioning farm fields in your comments may be helpful.
Sample brief email: (Please personalize and adapt!)
Dear Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Law Committee, thank you for your work protecting the health of our farm lands, woodlands, waterways, natural areas, and other properties. I support a vote to ban burning bush and the privets, which have escaped cultivation and are overtaking the parks I enjoy visiting, as well as roadsides, farm fields, forest edges, and woodlands throughout my area. In the future, I hope you will consider a ban on nonnative honeysuckles, Norway maple and butterfly bush varieties. I encourage you to keep any phase- in period to 1 year at the most, for the plants you vote to ban. Thank you for your consideration of these concerns.
Our chapter’s September newsletter is available now, including information about selecting and planting native trees in your home landscape.
The drought continues as we move towards autumn and many of our lovely goldenrods and asters are starting to grace us with their beauty. They don’t seem to know, or mind, that we haven’t gotten rain in weeks!
Please join us on Thursday, September 8, at 7 p.m. to learn about Native Trees for the Home Landscape, presented by Marc Radell, Master Gardener and Wild Ones SEPA Chapter member.
As always, the meeting will be recorded and available for viewing on our YouTube Channel. Our very informative and popular monthly newsletter will be sent out after the meeting.
If you have any native plant questions or things you’re excited about in your garden, please feel free to share pictures or stories after our main presentation.
We look forward to sharing our passion for native plants with you!
Members will receive an email with the zoom link. If you’re not a member and would like to attend, please email us at [email protected] to request the link.
Our chapter’s August newsletter is available now, including information about native plant guilds, adding wildlife-friendly features to your garden, and suggestions for native plants that provide better habitat than some common nursery plants.
Our chapter’s July newsletter is available now, including information about rewilding efforts at Bondsville Mill Park in Downingtown, and suggestions for native plants you can use in container gardens.