But only this past Sunday did I encounter black swallow-wort, which sounds like it may be even worse. I was checking one of our Newton Tree Conservancy trees in Newton Highlands that has what looks like a winter moth caterpillar problem, when the owner asked if I knew what this vine was that was strangling her plants and was very hard to get rid of. I didn't, but Beth recognized this photo right away as "BSW" and it is a great concern. It's starting to appear around Newton, and because it spreads by milkweed-like seeds that emerge from these pods that resemble chili-peppers, it could quickly become very widespread.
And the very next day, Katherine's email below arrived, looking for volunteers to pull BSW at Hemlock Gorge this Saturday. She estimates 35 person-hours of work, and if we finish early, the plan is to go around Upper Falls where BSW is rampant and distribute flyers.
So be on the lookout for these distinctive pods in your own yards, and dig it out and dispose of in the trash ASAP. And if you can spare an hour or two this Saturday, please come and help pull this infestation at Hemlock Gorge before it gets out of control. Bring a small trowel or dandelion fork for better root removal. It's a more open area, not woodsy, but long pants tucked in are probably a good idea in case of ticks.
Help Needed to Battle Black Swallow-Wort
At the beautiful Hemlock Gorge park in Newton Upper Falls, at a site poised over the gorge and much the rest of the city, is a flat area, about a tenth of an acre, covered in nothing but black swallow-wort (BSW) and its pods. BSW is a terribly invasive non-native vine that is suddenly appearing all over Newton; within a few weeks its numerous pods will burst open and the wind will further spread its tiny seeds. BSW invades by blanketing large areas and crowding out native species, impacting insects birds and butterflies; it is also fatal to monarch butterflies in migration and is yet another threat to that species.
Join us on Saturday August 15 10am until noon, when we will take up (and bag and dispose as trash) the plants and pods. Bring gloves, and a hat as the area is open and sunny. Park at the lot at the intersection of Ellis St/Quinobequin and Route 9 (at the underpass under Route 9); walk a bit up Ellis St to Echo Bridge; the area is at the base of Echo Bridge on Ellis St.
Please contact howard_Katherine@Hotmail.com or 617-721-2571 if you have any questions and to confirm that you plan to attend, or if you can't make that time and would like to help at another time. Many thanks!