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Private Enemy No. 1

When I was in Floyd last summer for the first time, I was astonished at how lush and green the woods were. At the time, I had no idea how much of that lushness had been contributed by an invasive exotic vine, Oriental Bittersweet (celastrus orbiculatus), which was identified for me by Jason Rutledge a year ago. This picture, taken by Chris Evans, is a fair picture of the tangles of vines that I found on this trip.

Oriental Bittersweet 1.jpg

I brought along a pair of Felco 23 loppers and a Felco 610 pruning saw and cut, over a period of 5 days, about 1,000 vines. Some of the vines were 3.5″ in diameter and had to be sawn. I had numerous instances where I found a tangle of vines such as is shown in this picture. The picture below shows a very small vine that I missed at first but cut on my last morning in Floyd.

Oriental Bittersweet.jpg

You can see it twining around another vine on the tree in the foreground – it is only about .75″ in diameter, but given time, would grow much bigger. I gave no quarter to my enemy – I cut it and yanked it out by the roots, something that I didn’t do for 99% of the rest of the vines. To do so would have meant weeks of labor. I am satisfied that, if nothing else, I have set the oriental bittersweet back a good ways – it will take several years to make its presence known in a big way and by then, I’ll be living on the property and will be able to aggressively deal with it. In the meantime, the trees will have been given a reprieve from the smothering vines and will be able to flourish for the first time in many years.

1 Comment on “Private Enemy No. 1”

  1. #1 Beth
    on Nov 24th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks for showing a picture of the oriental bittersweet, Jeff. I’d heard of it, but wasn’t sure what it looked like. Thank goodness we don’t seem to have that particular invasive weed here, but we have a pretty serious Japanese honeysuckle problem.

    I’ve enjoyed your posts about your Floyd property, Jeff. Thanks for giving us a look!

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