invasive species

Today’s Growing on the High Plains comes after catching up on some reading—something the relaxed days of the pandemic have finally allowed. I came across an article about an alarming invasive plant, giant hogweed. It’s taking over parts of Russia, and so far it’s seemingly impossible to contain. While that might seem far away, the dangerous weed is also in the US. Growing up to 16 feet, it emits a smelly, toxic sap which can harm the skin and eyes.

Oleander on Weeds and Immigrants

Aug 17, 2019
Martin Lopatka / The Nature Conservancy; Creative Commons

Folks, since 1937 Kansas has had a Noxious Weed law.  Among those on the Most (not) Wanted list are some fearful dangers:  Kudzu, Bindweed, Canada and other Thistles, Russian Knapweed, Bur Ragweed, Pignut, Johnsongrass and Sericea Lespedeza.

This pear tree is making enemies in Oklahoma

Mar 8, 2017
Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma has yet another invasive species that’s causing headaches in the state, alongside feral hogs and eastern red cedar. As NewsOK reports, the Bradford pear tree was once confined to front lawns and mall parking lots, but now the tree has broken free and is spreading out into open prairie land.

The tree began to move into unwanted areas 10 years ago. Now the Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council has put the Bradford pear on its invasive species watchlist.

A Glimpse Inside Colorado's "Insectary" Lab

Jul 25, 2016
Dan Garrison / Harvest Public Media

In the small farming town of Palisade, Colorado, there’s a lab known simply as "The Insectary." Scientists in the facility are hard at work developing bugs. These insects are engineered to attack other bugs and invasive plants harmful to agriculture.

The adapted critters are known as “biocontrol insects.” Despite its humble surroundings, the Insectary is the oldest and largest such facility in the United States, reports member station KUNC.

Invasion of the Moth Caterpillars

Jul 11, 2016
Seth McConnell / Denver Post

There’s a new visitor overtaking Colorado’s front range this summer, reports The Denver Post. Black-tusked tussock moth caterpillars have spread across 25,000 acres of the state in a single year. Authorities have spent almost $300,000 on a helicopter chemical assault to stop them.

Shakespeare and Starlings

Apr 8, 2016
bioquest.org

For a man who wrote easy-on-the-ear verse in line after line of iambic pentameter, William Shakespeare must spin in his grave to think he’s the reason millions of screeching, squabbling starlings swarm from shore to shore and border to border in America.

So who had the misguided idea to import these obnoxious creatures? In 1890 and 91, New Yorker Edward Schieffelin, a leader of the American Acclimatization Society, acted on a romantic notion to import examples of everything ever mentioned in a Shakespearian play to his hometown. Unfortunately, the bard included starlings in a scene in part one of Henry IV. That was the beginning of this cursed bird’s existence in the New World.

Benefits of Using Fire on the Landscape

Sep 8, 2015
Kansas Pheasants & Quail Forever

Native Americans used fire to manage rangeland for thousands of years, but a 100-year burning hiatus followed settlement by Europeans of the North American heartland. Those decades of fire suppression allowed invasive plants to negatively alter the landscape. But rangeland researchers and managers are awakening to the benefits of burning.

USDA: Prairie Heating and Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (PHACE) Experiment

Most climate models paint a bleak picture for the Great Plains a century from now: It will likely be warmer and the air will be richer with carbon dioxide. Though scientists don’t yet know how exactly the climate will change, new studies show it could be a boon to some invasive plant species.  

A growing problem

Ranchers Rediscover Burning

Jan 14, 2014
Texas Panhandle Prescribed Burn Association

Biologist Peter Berthelson of Pheasants Forever took action to educate land managers how to burn and created burn trailers stocked with all the hardware required to safely conduct prescribed burns.

Benefits of Using Fire on the Landscape

Jan 6, 2014
Oklahoma Grazing Lands Conservation Association

Native Americans used fire to manage rangeland for thousands of years, but a 100-year burning hiatus followed settlement by Europeans of the North American heartland. Those decades of fire suppression allowed invasive plants to negatively alter the landscape. But rangeland researchers and managers are awakening to the benefits of burning.

Controlling Invasives in Central Nebraska

Dec 30, 2013
Dave Powell / USDA, Forest Service

This episode of Playa Country is a report on woody shrub invasions and control efforts in Nebraska. Biologist Kirk Schroeder of Grand Island enumerates particular weeds invading Nebraska: phragmites is a growing problem in waterways and riparian land, Russian Olive and Eastern Red Cedar are invading uplands. Tom Hartman of Grand Island manages the family ranch at Scotia, NE, and faced an onslaught of ERC.

What Are Invasives?

Dec 23, 2013
Hillebrand Steve / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Biologists and rangeland conservationists discuss problems caused by the aggressive invasions of native and exotic shrubs such as Tamarisk, Russian Olive, Eastern Red Cedar and reeds on western Great Plains rangelands. These pests adversely impact ag economics, the ecology and native wildlife on the Plains.

Final episode of Invasive Species on Playa Country

Oct 22, 2012
Jim Mason

On Tuesday at 6:44 pm central time, we will hear the final episode of Invasive Species on Playa Country. This report covers woody shrub invasions and control efforts in Nebraska. Biologist Kirk Schroeder of Grand Island enumerates particular weeds invading Nebraska: phragmites is a growing problem in waterways and riparian land, Russian Olive and Eastern Red Cedar (ERC) are invading uplands. Tom Hartman of Grand Island manages the family ranch at Scotia, NE, and faced an onslaught of ERC. He and neighbors have been controlling with mechanical removal followed by fire.

Invasive Species series continues on Playa Country

Oct 15, 2012
Oklahoma Historical Society

The second in the three-part series on invasive species airs this week on Playa Country.  On Tuesday at 6:44 pm central time, Biologist Gene Miller describes the problem with invasives along the banks of the Canadian River in the Texas panhandle and western Oklahoma. He and NRCS rangeland manager Clint Rollins created the consortium the Canadian River Cooperative Weed Management Area, a group of agencies, non-governmental organizations and landowners conducting invasive weed control efforts.