Thursday, June 5, 2014

Adirondack Invasives: Where to look for Native New York Plants

My backyard has a mixture of wildflowers and cultivated plants with an eye toward native perennials. I gentle move the spring foamflowers, bunchberries and bluets that always manage to pop up in the middle of my kids’ baseball field. I protect the trillium from the puppy and neighborhood kids while making sure nothing invasive has traveled perhaps by squirrel, bird or child.

Yes, child. I’ve had to educate my daughter that picking roadside plants, (which sometimes includes the roots, is not a good way of keeping our garden and property safe from Adirondack invasives. Since she is also a fan of gardening, I’ve limited her transplanting to items already located to our property.

I’m always adding new plants and like most gardeners like to share and receive plants from friends and neighbors. I try to be careful and research each plant before accepting to my garden. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, but am thankful for all the organizations out there willing to share information.

The Lake George Association (LGA) hosts many learning opportunities for anyone located within the Lake George watershed such as its annual "Dig Up and Trade" which encourages people to get rid of invasive plants with a native plant. Look for Burning Bush, Chinese Silver Grass, Japanese Barberry, Winter Creeper and Yellow Iris and participate in the annual plant swap (a limit of one free plant per property.)

For those of us not living in the Lake George area there are plenty of wonderful resources for anyone looking to go native. The AdirondackPark Agency (APA) has a complete list of native plants by county. This has always been a great starting place to help me identify some wayward species and help me to determine the best place to transplant those rogue wildflowers determined to sprout in my children’ play area.

The University of Albany has compiled a list of Adirondack native plants with complete species information from the US Department ofAgriculture’s Plant Database while the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program identifies all invasive aquatic animals and plants as well as terrestrial plants and animals. There is also the option to buy native plants from FiddleheadCreek Nursery in Hartford, NY, which only sells plants native to New York State.

There is also a wonderful opportunity to help end the blight of Adirondack invasives by joining the free iMap Invasive Training at Paul Smith’s College. There will be two training modules, beginner and advanced with species identification sessions for each. These sessions are geared toward anyone interested in helping to protect New York State from invasive species. Volunteers will use the online mapping tool to report invasive species and assist conservation specialists.

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.

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