Invasive plants have been silently consuming the Town of Kittery — out-competing native species, destroying bird and animal habitat, diminishing native biodiversity, and degrading our natural landscape. Left unchecked, they will forever change the ecology and character of our small community.
Fortunately, it’s easy to make a difference. Here some of the most common offenders to help homeowners identify and remove these undesirables from their own property.
Barberry (berberis thunbergii)
Berberis thunbergii is shade tolerant, and forms dense stands in a variety habitats ranging from closed canopy forests, to woodlands, wetlands, pastures, meadows and wasteland. It is readily dispersed by birds, which can bring the seeds many meters away from the parent plants.
Asiatic bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
Bittersweet poses a serious threat to other species and entire habitats due to its aggressive habit of twining around and growing over other vegetation. This plant has a high reproductive rate, long-range dispersal mechanisms, and the ability to root-sucker. The vines can strangle tree- and shrub stems and all types of plants — even entire plant communities — can be over-topped and shaded out by the vine’s rapid growth. Virtually pure stands of this vine are sometimes found in affected areas, and it’s recently been discovered colonizing sand dunes in Connecticut and Rhode Island.