Unless you know what you are looking for, you probably don’t notice the invasive plants that are strangling our trees, blocking our view of the river and smothering out our native plants. But once you do know, it’s almost impossible not to be appalled.
Frankfort is not unique in its invasion; invasive species have quite literally taken over the country. Some are worse than others, but they all cause problems. They were brought to the United States by well intentioned individuals for various reasons.
Winter creeper, for instance, was brought from China in 1907 as an ornamental ground cover. Look closely; it’s used on shady hillsides and garden beds everywhere. It’s also the stuff that turns normal trees into giant bushes before eventually killing them.
Why is this important? Because those trees are holding our riverbed together. Without those trees, huge chunks of land slough into the river creating water pollution.
Bush honeysuckle, also brought to the U.S. as an ornamental plant, escapes landscaping and invades our forests. Because nothing wild will eat it, it thrives and drowns out our native plants that are needed to feed our deer and pollinators.
Getting ahead of invasive plants is a challenge for any property steward. Manual removal, cutting and applying glyphosate are two ways. A more creative way is to introduce goats to the land. This is in fact one option currently being suggested to our city parks. Imagine seeing our river from Dolly Graham Park!
I encourage each and every person to do a little research and become an activist for the removal of invasive species. Email your local plant supplier and tell them to stop selling invasive plants for our gardens. Remove them from your yard and, if possible, join your local group to help with removal on public lands.
Here in Frankfort our group is Remove Invasive Plants (RIP). You can find them on the web at www.RIPFC.net