Invasive Species Field Day Planned Along Erie Trail

Plants are pretty and trees are terrific until they start to take over your property and choke out any other flora and fauna. The Northwest Indiana Cooperative Weed Management Area and Prairie Trails Club are teaming up for an invasive species field day to teach you how to identify and eradicate invasive plant species. Committee member Linda Byer says a hands-on workshop is planned Saturday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. until noon CT on the North Judson Erie Trail.

“Besides some discussion and some information being given out on how to identify it, show it to them and put them to work. We’re going to cut things down, chemically treat the stump so it doesn’t sprout and discuss all of the different ways they can kill it,” said Byer.

Byer says bush honeysuckle is one of the main problem plants in wooded areas.

“The Asian Bush Honeysuckle is totally shade tolerant, and when it gets into a woods it can, even in a closed canopy, totally take over the understory where nothing else is growing underneath that bush honeysuckle. So as the woods mature and die, there are no new oaks, no new ashes, nothing underneath to take their place because the bush honeysuckle has shaded them all out and prevented them from germinating,” said Byer.

Byer says the bush honeysuckle is spread by birds, which makes it important to stay on top of eradicating the pesky plants. Additionally she says Siberian and Chinese Elm trees are filling up open fields. Many were planted as shade trees because they grow quickly.

“A tree can go from a seedling to about five feet high in under two years. We’ve got several fields where, once they had stopped cropping it, there’s an adult elm in the area seeding the field, and now the entire field is just covered with these small elm trees. Again, there’s nothing really to control it, no insects feeding on it, no diseases to kill it back,” said Byer.

Byer suggests wearing long sleeves and pants to the workshop and recommends bringing work gloves and loppers. The free program starts at 10 a.m. at the State Road 10 trail head at the corner of County Road 250 West at the rest park. Call Byer at (574) 896-3572 or email for more information.