For the second year running we have taken part in the invasive non-native species control as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded New Forest ‘Our Past, Our Future’ Landscape Partnership Scheme.
American skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) is present in several locations in and around the New Forest National Park.
Under European Union regulations, it is an offence in the UK to keep, cultivate, breed, transport, sell or exchange this species, or release it, intentionally or unintentionally, into the environment.
American skunk cabbage is a large, imposing perennial producing paddle-shaped leaves up to 1.5 metres tall and yellow arum-like flowers in spring that are spectacular but foul-smelling (hence the name). Originally from western North America, it was widely available from garden centres and nurseries for planting besides ponds and in bog gardens.
It spreads vigorously in wet woodland, wetlands and ditches, forming dense stands that out-compete native vegetation by shading and smothering. Reproduction by seed in the wild is frequent. It has been reported in at least 10 EU countries.
We are just recording the results from our late May treatment and the dieback looks promising.
The large site presents awkward access bordering a lake and approximately 1 hectare of boggy woodland often requiring a long walk in full PPE and a heavy Knapsack. Due to the densities of the plants we have used spray paint to mark individual plants and a flag system to help navigate the woodland.
To learn more about weed control, please click here
John recently started a new LinkedIn discussion regarding the use of herbicide against non-native aquatic plant species. Here’s what he wrote.
“Over the last 10 years most approved aquatic herbicides have been removed from the market. Now it would seem that Glyphosate is the next target to come into the sights of the EU legislators. I suspect that all environmentally conscious people would prefer not to be introducing chemicals into the environment unnecessarily. However, the potential loss of Glyphosate, which in the form of Roundup Pro Bio is deemed to be one of the safest products for use in or near water, would present us with real challenges, not the least being the control of non-native species such as Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, Floating Pennywort to name but a few.
As a responsible company working in the field of water management and maintenance, Kingcombe Aquacare is keen to find alternative procedures if they exist, but for some of these pernicious plants, which are destroying our native habitat, often in SSSIs, spraying with Glyphosate is the only commercially viable means of control.
I would be interested to know where other Chartered Environmentalists stand on this issue, and whether there are alternative non-native invasive weed control strategies that are commercially viable and successful. Indeed, I would be keen to know where the Institute stands on this issue!”
The ramifications of potentially losing the last remaining effective herbicide are huge and will spark many discussions of how best to control infestations of these non-native plants