Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trade In Adirondack Invasives for Native Plants

My backyard has a mixture of wildflowers and cultivated plants with an eye toward native perennials. I gently move the spring foamflowers, bunchberries and bluets that always manage to pop up in the middle of my kids’ baseball field. I protect the trillium from the puppy and neighborhood kids while making sure nothing invasive has traveled perhaps by squirrel, bird or child. Yes, my child.

I’ve had to educate my daughter that picking roadside plants, (which sometimes includes the roots, which is not a good way of keeping our garden and property safe from Adirondack invasives). Since she is also a fan of gardening, I’ve limited her transplanting to items already located to our property.

I’m always adding new plants and like most gardeners like to share and receive plants from friends and neighbors. I try to be careful and research each plant before accepting to my garden. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, but am thankful for all the organizations out there willing to share information.

This Friday, May 30, the Lake George Association (LGA) is hosting a “Trade In and Green Up!” event from 3-7 pm at the LGA office. Anyone located within the Lake George watershed is encouraged to dig up an invasive plants and will be given a replacement native plant. There are specific requirements. The LGA is focusing on the following plants for this year’s plant swap: Burning Bush, Chinese Silver Grass, Japanese Barberry, Winter Creeper and Yellow Iris with a limit of one free plant per property.

For those of us not living in the Lake George area there are plenty of wonderful resources for anyone looking to go native. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has a complete list of native plants by county. This has always been a great starting place to help me identify some wayward species and to find the best place to transplant those rogue wildflowers determined to sprout in my children’s play area.

The University of Albany has compiled a list of Adirondack native plants with complete species information from the US Department of Agriculture’s Plant Database while the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program identifies all invasive aquatic animals and plants as well as terrestrial plants and animals. There is also the option to buy native plants from Fiddlehead Creek Nursery in Hartford, NY, which only sells plants native to New York State.

There is a wonderful opportunity to help end the blight of Adirondack invasives by joining the free iMap Invasive Training at Paul Smith’s College on May 29 from 10 am – 3:30 pm. There will be two training modules, beginner and advanced with species identification sessions for each. These sessions are geared toward anyone interested in helping to protect New York State from invasive species. Volunteers will use the online mapping tool to report invasive species and assist conservation specialists.

So while we are all excited about landscaping our Adirondack gardens, be sure to focus on native plants to keep the rest of the Adirondack Park healthy.

The photo of the native vine Virginia creeper is used with the permission of Diane Chase,

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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

One Response

  1. Suzanne McGraw says:

    Thank you for spreading the word about invasive,non-native plants in the Adirondacks!

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