Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In Bolton An Unparalleled Japanese Knotweed Infestation

23With aquatic invasive species attracting so much attention, it’s not surprising that terrestrial invasives have received comparatively little notice from Lake George residents.

But according to Bolton Landing resident Anne Green, “this town is ground zero for Japanese knotweed. Bolton has more dense beds per acre than any other town in the Adirondacks.”

Last year, Green began working with a program called the Regional Inlet Invasive Plant Program (RIIPP), which was started in Herkimer County in 2008, to combat Japanese Knotweed.

After addressing the Bolton Town Board about Japanese Knotweed at its August meeting, the board adopted a resolution to purchase two devices, known as stem injection guns, which are used to poison Knotweed with an environmentally safe herbicide.

Since those cannot be used by anyone but licensed applicators, they will not be available immediately, but according to Green, the Town Board’s action demonstrated that it takes the issue seriously and that it is willing to take steps to combat Japanese Knotweed.

The board’s action also allowed Green, who is Bolton coordinator for RIIP, to remind residents that they should not attempt to eradicate Japanese Knotweed without the advice of experts.

According to Green, Knotweed invades river and stream banks, affecting native plants, fish and wildlife. Dense infestations clog drainage ditches and obscure visibility along roadways. Unwanted populations are also nuisances to landowners. But if it is not treated properly, it will spread rather than disappear.

Public highway departments have played an unintentional role in the spread of Knotweed, Green said, explaining that mowing and disposing of the plant improperly after ditching cause the weed to spread to other locations.

Green said she was pleased that both candidates for Bolton Highway Superintendent, Mat Coon and William Sherman, attended a  “Japanese Knotweed Management Summit” at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek in August.

The Summit featured presentations on the distribution of Japanese Knotweed and status of management efforts, planning considerations, control options, permitting, case studies from public and private lands, community-based control programs and prevention measures, among other things.

“Japanese knotweed is one of the most detrimental and difficult to control invasive plants in New York, and it is spreading throughout the Adirondack region.  Now is the time to take coordinated prevention and management action,” Hilary Smith, director of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, said.

While the Town of Bolton has offered to assist the Herkimer County-based Regional Inlet Invasive Plant Program, that program has also volunteered to help Bolton.

The program donated forty hours of a licensed applicator’s time, as well as the labor of volunteers, to help treat Japanese Knotweed in Bolton.

Last weekend, work began along the banks of Finkle Brook, according to Green.

Those seeking more information about managing Japanese Knotweed on private and public property in Bolton should contact Anne Green at 796-6405.


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Anthony F. Hall is the editor and publisher of the Lake George Mirror.

Anthony grew up in Warrensburg and after an education that included studying with beat poet Gregory Corso on an island in the Aegean, crewing a schooner in Hawaii, traveling through Greece and Turkey studying Byzantine art and archeology, and a stint at Lehman Brothers, he returned to the Adirondacks and took a job with legendary state senator Ron Stafford.

In 1998, Anthony and his wife Lisa acquired the Lake George Mirror, once part of a chain of weekly newspapers owned by his father Rob Hall.

Established in the 1880s, the Mirror is America’s oldest resort newspaper.

14 Responses

  1. lauren says:

    I kill knotweed with Round up. It is persistent, but, so am I.

  2. Wren Hawk says:

    An “environmentally safe herbicide”? That’s an oxymoron. It may be low in toxicity to some set of organisms but it is a pesticide…designed to kill. So what is it?

  3. John Jongen says:

    Love this ‘notweed’ in my garden along with another ‘invassive’ Sunchokes. Their great fall colors and late blooming make them a welcome complement to the garden. I hate Agent Orange Roundup for what it has done to the Vietnamese and their environment. Why would anyone want to continue to use this Monsanto chemical in our gardens?

  4. Charles Thompson says:

    This junk is very hard to eradicate. I’ve after about 7 years of concerted effort pretty much beat a nasty batch of this menace. What has helped most is destroying as many of the bunched root balls as I could (place in a black bag for a season before throwing out), and using super high concentrate Roundup Only After it flowers in the fall. Do this by cutting the stems and then spraying the de-foil ant down into the cut stem. Repeat as needed season after season. Eventually it weakens and gives up. It has underground runners you can’t see so persistence is needed to get it all.

  5. Steve says:

    This stuff is all over in the Long Lake, Tupper Lake area also. Extremely resilient, fast spreading.

  6. Charlie says:

    lauren says: I kill knotweed with Round up. It is persistent, but, so am I.

    Roundup! They sell that s!#t in hardware stores,Home Depot,Lowes…. They sell it to anybody! The stuff is so damn dangerous i’m surprised they sell it at all. But then why should I be surprised? There’s money in it.Monsanto wont disclose what’s in Roundup,but we do know it will kill frogs and salamanders and fish and bugs,and I certainly wouldn’t want to inhale the stuff.
    One report says “Avoid letting Roundup get into water supplies or on any vegetables grown for human consumption.” The same thing as saying ‘Steer clear away from.’ Only words to Forrest Gump.
    I remember a man with a canister with a hose and spray coming out directed at flowers on a sidewalk which he called weeds. I asked him what it was he said ‘Roundup.’ The pretty flowers (weeds) were but a few and they could have been plucked within minutes.Instead he sprayed them with poison for a few minutes.Why a few minutes of spraying? The killer instinct in he. Meanwhile less blooms for bees and butterflies to go to.A mindset.
    This is just one mere example of why education is important.Yet so little of the right education is taught. I could cite numerous similar instances such as this.It is so common to see robots spraying living things with a mist you know is poison.
    The one thing I hate about spring in New York is knowing your average homeowner is gonna be out his door the first nice weekend with his sports cap on his head spraying weed killers,and who knows what other poisons, just so he can purty up his lawn for his superficial neighbors to see.I hate that about summer too.That s!#t goes into the drinking water too.
    Your average robot thinks dandelion is the most horrid weed thanks,in part,to the corporate education system which teaches students the most important thing is ‘How to grow up to be financially successful working for this or that corporation.’ They don’t teach you that the best things in life are free and that water is the lifeblood and…….. I was taught that dandelion was no good too.Now I eat the leaves in my salads and have learned that my great grandfather used to make dandelion wine. I am always unlearning thank the powers that be.
    If we had lawmakers and people that were more futuristic than they were short-term thinkers we would do things right and avoid spreading these invasives around like we’ve been doing for quite a number of years now.No matter how much it would cost to keep invasives away,even if we had to change our short-term pleasures lifestyle, it would be much cheaper than what it is costing us just trying to eradicate them,never mind the irreversible damage they create. Lake George is probably going to be the best example of our irresponsibility regards the invasive species matter.
    The Roundup mindset. The same as the Drano mindset.Pour it down the sink because it’s the cheap way out and easy to do.

  7. SwilliAm says:


    Though I agree with you that herbicides are unnecessary in lawns and are overused in the landscape, you are misinformed about Roundup’s toxity. The active ingredient, Glyphosate, is actually very non-toxic to anything but plants as its mode-of-action is to block enzymatic activity in plants.

    You could practically drink it as over the years as a certified pesticide applicator for Bartlett Tree Experts I’ve probably ingested a few gallons of it.
    Because many undesirable plants are able to regenerate from roots, it is impossible to eradicate them by non-chemical interventions, and herbicides are the only practical means to do so.

    If it means using a relative benign chemical manufactured by a large, multi-national company like Monsanto to control the scourge of invasive exotics that upset the balance of our ecosystems by reducing biodiversity, and that one day may render them unsustainable, then I think this is a trade-off that’s well worth it.


    • Bill Ott says:

      One can read on Wikipedia that knotweed rhyzomes grow deep and wide. I can hardly weed my own garden some years, and if knotweed showed up, I would probably give it up. Searching the net, one finds fantastic knotweed photos with articles; it has no saving grace. If anybody has actually eliminated it without calling in Swat Team 6, this would be a good place to start selling your miracle. I am just wondering what one should to if encountering this stuff in the outback (5-ponds for example), because if this stuff gets loose, say along the Robinson River, things could be bad. I am going on a much delayed trip there soon, and wonder if I should pay special attention to Knotweed. How does it look in the fall? I have been measuring large white pines and searching old plane wreck sites, and get all over the Five Ponds. I have neither the education nor training of many people that write here, but I could be a set of eyes.

      Bill Ott
      Lakewood, Ohio

  8. SwilliAm says:


    Japanese Knotweed is unlikely to be seen in remote areas soon. It seems to thrive mostly where humans habitate for the time being. I’ve never seen it in the backcountry, most likely because it requires almost full sun to thrive, and because its dispersal is mostly by vegetative means, and not by wind or seed dispersal by birds.

    This is why I consider it not nearly as pernicious as a potential major disruption in the Adirondacks as other invasives such as buckthorn, multiflora rose, purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, Japanese barberry, great reed, and swallow-wort. Unlike the knotweed, these invasives are much more easily dispersed by wind or birds than the Knotweed, and from what I’ve seen the past few years, these species are much more likely to pose a threat to the Adirondack wilderness for this reason. Purple loosestrife, great reed, buckthorn and garlic mustard I see as the most difficult to control by far, the others I think we have a chance to control with vigilance.

    Of all these invasives I’ve mentioned here in the Syracuse area, I think buckthorn and garlic mustard have the most adverse effect on the ecology, with Japanese knotweed actually having the least, and that’s because of its limited presence in the wild due to its limited ability to spread so easily.

  9. Charlie says:

    Swilli… One school will tell us that cellphones pressed against the cranium are no threat to the brain inside it. Another school will point out brain tumors are on the rise since the inception of cellphone use. I always err on the side of caution….the survival instinct in me.I know a young girl who recently had a double mastectomy due to cancerous tumors on one of her breasts. Two aggressive lumps were found on her one breast,hence the reason for the double mastectomy. The lumps were exactly where she kept her cellphone in her bra.I don’t believe in coincidences and neither does she any more.
    If you do some online research you will find two schools regards the dangers of Roundup. It is still a fairly new herbicide and no matter what anybody says my instinct leads me to believe poison is poison. I believe I read one report where they connected cancer dangers related to Roundup.Another says amphibians will die if they come in contact with it.This is the information age Swilli. There’s no more excuse’s for saying “I had no idea.” We’re gonna believe what we’re gonna believe and nothing is ever going to change that. Ego.Pride.Stubbornness.A torpid stupor. Swallow some of that stuff then come back on board and tell us how you fared Swill. Just kidding! Don’t swallow that stuff.
    On the positive side of Japanese knotweed…. I bought a 5 lb jar of local honey in Schoharie County last week and was told by the farmers daughter that the bees go to that invasive species to draw the nectar from it. Meaning that sweet viscid syrup that we put on our oatmeal,or in our tea,or by the heaping tablespoons into our mouths,is partially due to the existence of knotweed.It may be a mere parcel but knotweed is in the mix of local honey,along with tulips,parsnip,clover and a heap of other wildflowers that are still ever present in our fields and on roadsides wherever the mowers aren’t wreaking their havoc.

  10. Charlie says:

    What about Garlic Mustard. I live in Southern Ontario and it is taking over the wooded areas near my home in Ancaster. Much to my surprise I saw a small patch by the Independence River outside of Lowville and also saw it in the woods next to the Brantingham Golf Club. I pulled up all I could find. It is a scourge here.

  11. Charlie says:

    We’re never going to turn back the clock Charlie.We like to get places yesterday…that’s the problem.We don’t know what taking it easy is anymore,or going slow,or paying attention.We don’t know what foot travel is anymore except when we have to rise from in front of a television or a computer to amble to and fro the bathroom,or the fridge.These invasives are hitchhikers,they latch onto moving objects and before you know it they’re hundreds of miles further away from where they were prior.
    It is unfortunate the havoc we are creating on our environment.If there were more wooded buffer zones and if they would please stop razing what wooded lots remain,and stop adding more cement and roads and shopping centers,and if there were less motorized contraptions getting us from A-Z…. maybe we’d be able to slow things down.I don’t see things changing anytime soon.What’s really nerving is when I see young school-children (10 & 11 yrs young) at the library on computers gawking over the latest model cars,which I have seen a handful of times.Signs of a good education system I would say wouldn’t you.

  12. Ben says:

    Wow, you could have gotten $20/lb for the roots! Wildcrafted knotweed… highly valueable. who’s Great idea to put pioson into them instead.

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