Archive for April, 2011

From now on, all outdoor space requires our attention!

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Our new relentless monotonous default condition

From now on, wilderness will require intense gardening to remain wilderness!


Honeysuckle stumped and killed 

Original Missouri – Keep it clean!
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Traditional Missouri landscape – At risk!


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Local plants can’t always compete with imported plants, which have evolved to survive in different conditions, with different reproductive strategies

Honeysuckle taking advantage of a small unmowed area


To make matters worse, some exotic invasive varieties were bred to produce more fruit, and therefor more offspring

Bred for berry production...oops!


According to Ron Rathfon, Extension Forester, Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University:

an improvement program was established to identify and propagate varieties producing large quantities of fruit. The result was “Rem-Red”, a variety of Amur honeysuckle that produces large quantities of bright red berries.”



The results speak for themselves!

Overgrown overkill

Honeysuckle is not the only example of invasive plants from overseas being developed into cultivars for the nursery trade.

Let me introduce you to the Bradford Pear

An older Bradford Pear in the foreground, with many of its babies in back

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In its grip

There are times when I can’t help but think we have no idea what we are doing.

At eye level... Everywhere!

I wouldn’t want to operate on someone or take my computer apart and try to put it back together.  If I operated on someone, it wouldn’t take long for me to realize I am in over my head and that I should stop.

Easily 15 Feet tall!

When I look about the modern landscape, it occurs to me that we live in a world where even the slightest misstep can have serious unforeseen consequences.

Sometimes it seems we are like a bull in the china shop that thinks its a ballerina.

Paying attention - a survival skill

It continues to amaze me that so few people realize how drastically we have changed our natural landscape when it is so obvious to see.

Blanket coverage

It should be deeply disturbing that casual landscaping decisions can have such an utterly overwhelming impact.  This plant does not feed people or even look that attractive.  Why is it here?  Why don’t we even notice what it has done? Why have we been so slow to react?

Unintended consequences…

MKT trail - Columbia, Missouri*

*A popular recreation trail.  Most visitors are oblivious to the severe damage around them.

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Capen Grindstone Park is located in Columbia, Missouri.  You can walk there from the University of Missouri.  It is an amazing expanse of forests, fields, creeks and cliffs, just a short bike ride from downtown Columbia Missouri.

A cloudy day in April

It also has a branch of the MKT trail winding through it.  You can ride a bike on a crushed gravel trail from the park all the way to suburban St. Louis.

Honeysuckle along the trail

Unfortunately, you can also find the park becoming overrun by Asian Bush Honeysuckle

Care for a walk?

It is either trail... or brush...

In some areas, if the mower doesn’t dominate, the Honeysuckle will!

In other areas, deep shade has slowed the invasion.  Here is an area just beginning to see seedlings in the riparian corridor of Hinkson Creek

The thick bottomland prairie still has many clear areas remaining, though this bush will produce seeds in a year or two

Just the beginning...

Park officials are aware of the problem and attempt to educate the public with a sign along the MKT trail

Meanwhile the invasion continues.  Here are some old trees in the Hinkson Creek bottoms, surrounded by Honeysuckle Bushes

Care to go fishing on the bank… bring your machete!

Upland forest areas are not immune either

These branches were way above my head!

Coming to a trail near you!

Relentless monotony

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Was this one of the first Asian Bush Honeysuckles planted in Columbia, Missouri?

Near Stewart & Providence Rd.

My candidate for the oldest invader is found near the intersection of  Providence and Stewart road.

It is close to the MKT trail and is likely the grandfather plant of the great expanse of Honeysuckle monoculture that has covered the land along the trail.

Thousands of smaller bushes surround the big one

It is scary to think that it all began with just one plant.

Ground Zero?

Blotting out the sky!

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OZ 12 Outer Ozark Border - in dark green

Download a free iron on shirt transfer design (Microsoft word 2003).  You will need to buy a white T shirt and some iron-on transfer paper.  Follow the directions for using the paper and make yourself a unique shirt displaying your local eco-region.

St. Louis, Missouri Eco-region Shirt-(Microsoft Word 2003):


Columbia, Missouri Eco-region-(Microsoft Word 2003):


For more information, see the Atlas of Missouri Ecoregions – Nigh & Schroeder


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In urban areas,  large expanses of terrain have been blanketed with mature, fruiting Honeysuckle bushes.

Escaped the bulldozer, not the bush…

The result is a heavy crop of seeds dispersed by birds.

The next generation – saturation!

After a while seeds are deposited everywhere.  Any place that doesn’t get a lot of attention will become infested.

Pull it out! Keep it out!

Today I mowed the grass for the first time this spring.  It was also my first chance to see what the birds deposited in the yard since last fall.

Prepare to meet the mower blade!

I estimate there were at least 25 Honeysuckle seedlings in my small back yard.

Anthropocene shadows

Frequent mowing seems to keep them down, giving my bluegrass and fescue lawn a chance to be the alternate Missouri groundcover.

Competing Backyard monocultures

Accidental Monoculture

From now on, all outdoor space requires our attention!

Infiltration via brush pile

From now on, wilderness will require intense gardening to remain wilderness!


Original Missouri – Keep it clean!


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