Todd C. Bryant, B.S. M.S. Biology
I have owned my 60-acre property for about 25 years and have always been concerned about the invasive plant species, particularly the Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose that seemed to have completely taken over my field, tree line borders, and some of my forest plots. We have a few acres fenced off for paddock for horses and the bittersweet had essentially covered the entire forest floor. A uniform monoculture of bright green leaves was all that we could see. I was worried about the damage to my trees these invasive plants were causing, not to mention the utter lack of native shrubs and typical forest understory. For years, I continually cut and pulled and tried digging out the root systems. This system of management only served to double the plants resilience and they continued to grow and encroached and choked out even more of the native plant species and trees on my property.
In consultation with several foresters it was strongly suggested that I employ an invasive species management specialist. It was essential to eradicate these invasives from my property or else they would continue to cause a decrease in the native species of shrub and potentially make their way throughout my entire forest. In consultation with Matt Verson, he advised an herbicide application to help control the spread and reduce the invasive species population. I have always been environmentally conscientious and I was very hesitant about using chemicals, but after so many years of fruitless labor pulling and cutting, it was clear that method was a waste of time. Matt explained how the herbicide worked, getting into the stems and root systems of the bittersweet. He laid out a plan to carefully target only the invasives and we agreed to the plan. Matt is quite expert at plant identification and uses a very methodical approach when spraying. He was careful about not hitting native plants and documented the specific areas he sprayed. Within a few weeks after the initial attack, the results were dramatically outlined by the dead bittersweet. Later that fall, it was clear that bittersweet problem was significantly reduced and the native species that had been choked out were now flourishing nicely. Matt advised that continual vigilance and minor spraying would be necessary for the next few seasons. His work had essentially changed my field and forest landscape so dramatically I wished I had done this years ago. Matt Verson is a consummate professional who takes his trade very seriously. The outcome of his work is proof of that.