Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012: Erv's Field Notes #40 -- Important Notice!

Come help remove thistles from your park!
Saturday, June 16, at 9 am at the Harrison St. (SW) parking area
See details below...

Thistle growing in the south prairie, 6/7/12 (Kevin Kane)

Thursday, June 14, 2012, 10 am. Clear, sunny, strong southerly breeze, temperature about 80 degrees F.

I have been surveying areas of the park for invasive plant species and creating a spread sheet with a list of species according to designated areas. I am finding a lot of invasive species. Some are native, some are non-native, and some are on the state's noxious weed list. By the end of the summer I hope to have a draft report with recommendations on what should be done to control these species. I will discuss my preliminary observations in an interpretive program on June 28.

Of immediate concern is the infestation of musk thistle that is now in full bloom in several areas of the park. Jon Hunstock and I spent several hours last week pulling musk thistle from areas on the north side and on the north west shore of the south lake. Yesterday, I found a large patch in the southwest corner of the park, due west of the Harrison Street parking lot. I worked about two hours this morning and pulled or cut about 30 percent of this stand of thistle. Many of the plants are large and robust and I could not get them out of the ground because of the dry hard ground. So, I began removing flowering heads (some of which were beginning to go to seed) and putting them in a large plastic bag. I did not finish the job.

I am appealing for help to eradicate this stand of thistles this Saturday, June 16, at 9 am. The more people that show up, the less time it will take. I will provide garbage bags for the seed heads. Please bring a hand sickle or other cutting device to cut the plants off at the ground level. We will pull the smaller plants. It is absolutely necessary to wear thick heavy gloves; these plants have very sharp spines that will easily puncture light weight gloves. I recommend a long sleeve shirt as well. I will provide necessary training beforehand in identification, natural history, and how to control this noxious weed.

Erv Klaas

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