Learn about local invasive plants

Here’s an opportunity to gain some hands-on knowledge about invasive plants plaguing Connecticut.

Gillettes Castle Invasives flyerVisit Gillette Castle in East Haddam on the third Sunday of June, July, August, and September, to learn how to identify and manage invasive plants that are likely or may soon try to establish on your property.

Master Gardeners with the University of Connecticut Master Gardener Program will speak, help identify, and answer questions about locally prevalent invasive plants.

These free education sessions run from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, with a nature walk along the trails at Gillette’s Castle at 1:00 pm (kids are welcome).

The woodlands around Gillette Castle make a great invasive plant training ground. One of the major invasives there is Chinese wisteria. Chinese wisteria was planted around the castle grounds as a decorative landscape vine years ago. But, as Chinese wisteria will do when left to its natural devices, it spread … and spread … and spread.

Most of the ornamental wisteria you see planted in Connecticut is Chinese wisteria and, left untended, will act the same – spread and spread. When Chinese wisteria’s large purple flowers are in bloom it’s pretty easy to identify where the vine has spread into trees along some of Connecticut’s highways. It aggressively send roots underground and vines above ground choking out and weighing down everything it comes into contact with.

If wisteria is a must have in your ornamental garden the preferable wisteria to the Chinese variety (Wisteria sinensis) is native American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens).

During the nature walks on each Sunday, attendees will see just how much Chinese wisteria has spread along some of the castle trails and learn about the active project to reduce the infestation of Chinese wisteria at Gillette Castle.

Meet at the Gillette Castle State Park Visitors Center at 11:00 am this Sunday, June 16 or the following Sundays of July 21, August 18, and/or September 22.

Questions? Call 203-208-6085 or email AliensatGilletteCastle@gmail.com.

Before attending one of these informational sessions, get a heads-up on the many invasive plants, shrubs and trees altering Connecticut’s landscape by wandering around the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group website. You’ll be better armed to absorb the information you’ll hear during your Gillette Castle visit.

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2 comments for “Learn about local invasive plants

  1. June 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    We need more educational efforts like this one. I have had so many conversations with gardeners in which they insist that a plant is not invasive because it is not a thug in their garden. It’s often hard for people to grasp that the issue is not how the plant behaves in your garden, but how it behaves when it escapes from your garden.

    • June 15, 2013 at 8:17 am

      Jean, I totally agree. Educational sessions such as the one planned by Connecticut master gardeners will, hopefully, go a long way in opening the eyes of gardeners.

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