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John Peter Thompson: Oplismenus Menaces the Mid Atlantic

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The Organic View

The Organic View


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Gardeners and farmers well know the effect of unwanted garden pests such as crab grass, corn borers, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, Japanese beetles and Jimson weed. When it comes to referring to a species that is explosive, they are simply referred to as a “weed” when in fact, these plants are notoriously invasive. Everyone is in agreement that they are bad, reduce harvest and damage flowers, and need to be controlled even to the extent of stopping the introduction at the national borders. There is a whole list of pathogens, plants and insects, as well as reptiles and mammals that are prohibited for sale or import in the United States. We are very protective of our personal ecological spaces and our individual landscapes. However, when it comes to natural areas, our collective landscape literacy is abysmal. We give little thought to the weeds of nature, the pests of natural ecosystems or the dangers that non indigenous species may inflict on natural areas. We have the idea that nature can absorb anything we throw over the garden fence including old plants and unwanted pets. We discard our excesses without assessing the risks. Then there is the whole world of invasive species. In North America’s East Coast, three plants are altering the arrangement of species relationships in natural areas and more often than not impacting our managed gardens too. These species are spreading like an out of control fire. Wavyleaf basket grass, Japanese Stilt grass and Kudzu are spreading through our natural systems creating monocultures and creating novel ecosystems with uninvestigated impacts on nature’s ecosystem services. In this segment of The Organic View Radio Show, host, June Stoyer will speak to Invasive species and Horticultural expert, John Peter Thompson, President of the National Agricultural Research Alliance (http://www.NARA-B.org ). John Peter will discuss this menace and what you can do to prevent your landscape from being overrun. Stay tuned!