Disposing of Invasive Plants in Harpswell
By Jeff Stann
Invasive plants can be a nuisance, and disposing of them must be done carefully. Their seeds, roots, and other parts can re-sprout, and form new plants and make homeowners’ lives difficult. Here’s some advice from the A. Dennis Moore Recycling and Transfer Station and the Harpswell Invasive Plant Partnership.
Invasive plants are plants that are not native, spread aggressively, and cause economic, environmental, or health damage. There are many of them in Harpswell that choke out native vegetation and reduce wildlife, damage pastures, and harm humans. (Did you know that Japanese Barberry attracts ticks, for example?)
The procedure for disposing of invasive plants in Harpswell is to bag them securely in plastic bags and dispose of them in the general trash dumpster in the Transfer Center at the top of the hill. (Remember to weigh in and out when dumping there!) The trash is then placed in a landfill, and the invasives are unable to re-sprout and spread.
In the case of shrubby invasives, it’s particularly important to dispose of them by bagging when they have fruit in late summer or fall. If you’re digging out or cutting large shrubs like barberry in the spring it may be difficult to bag them, but if they don’t have fruit, you can leave them on site, with their roots not touching ground so they don’t re-root. In the case of non-woody plants like Purple Loosestrife and Japanese Knotweed (bamboo), it’s best to bag them, since their seeds are hard to control and bits of vegetative matter can re-root.
Late April and early May is the easiest time to spot invasive woody plants like Japanese Barberry, shrub honeysuckles, Autumn Olive, and Asiatic bittersweet, because they leaf out a week or two before native plants. You can get them before they produce more fruit.
For more information about the Transfer Center go to www.harpswell.maine.gov or call 207-833-6472.