Friday, September 18, 2009
Stalking the Purple Loosestrife
Behold the mighty loosestrife hunters, triumphing over their haul!
My friend Laurie called this morning, asking me to join her paddling the shores of Moreau Lake. Our task was to pull as much Purple Loosestrife as we could find. So far, this aggressive alien invader occupies only isolated stands of just a few individuals, so it's still within the realm of possibility to eliminate it from these shores. But the plant can be mighty hard to uproot, which is why Laurie, a geologist by training, brought along her rock pick to work those stubborn roots loose.
We paddled together in her tandem canoe, stashing the plants in these barrels. If we left them in place on the shore, they might reroot or their seeds sprout and make new plants.
It wasn't always easy to approach the plants, sometimes sinking into muck up to our shins.
Sometimes the plants pulled free of the sand without much effort.
The reason we pull this admittedly beautiful flower is to prevent it from overwhelming its habitat and crowding out the native plants that grow there. Such as this pretty Stiff Aster.
And this pristine white Grass-leaved Arrowhead.
Tomorrow we head to the Hudson, to join a volunteer clean-up crew. We'll be paddling the shore and visiting campsites to remove, not alien plants, but the trash left behind by a summer's worth of litterers. Grrrr!