SCARBOROUGH —For decades, plant species from overseas have been taking root in North America and the Scarborough Land Trust is doing something to fight invasive plants locally.

Establishment of these nonnative or exotic plants can be traced back centuries in New England due to the import and export industry. Many of these plants have native ranges in Europe and Asia where historically, ships have been carrying goods to and from these exotic lands since well before the country’s inception.

An exotic species becomes an invasive one when it takes over a habitat and outcompetes native plants. Invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed tower above other shrubs and block their access to sunlight, inhibiting photosynthesis. Others like Bittersweet or Invasive Honeysuckle have vines that climb along trees and branches, cutting into their bark while cutting off the flow of nutrients in the vascular system of the woody plants.

Some of the plants that are most affected by the invasives are those already not doing well. Endangered or threatened species are present on SLT preserves, which makes it more crucial than ever to fight off these unwelcome guests. Restoration is possible with your help.

SLT is putting together a team of hardworking individuals to help combat invasive species. The team will attend invasive species removal work days throughout summer. Trainings will also be provided every other Tuesday at Pleasant Hill Preserve starting Aug. 9 and ending Sept. 20.

These trainings will feature hands-on instructions from Stewardship Director, Sami. She will explain the correct strategies to remove and combat invasive species. Volunteers will learn how to identify these species.

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Several work days with take place with trained volunteers where, as a team, we will remove invasive species from SLT preserves. These works days are scheduled for Saturdays this summer, and the location will change each month.

• July 16 and 30 – Pleasant Hill Preserve.

• Aug. 13 and 27 – Fuller Farm Preserve.

• Sept. 10 and 24 – Blue Point Preserve.

Be prepared to walk a short distance, potentially off the maintained trail. We encourage stewardship volunteers to bring their own tools, if they have them, including gloves, loppers, trimmers, shovels, and any Personal Protective Equipment. We recommend wearing long pants, comfortable footwear, and applying bug spray. Remain tick and insect aware. All ages are welcome, although children must be accompanied by an adult.

Further leadership training can be provided and we encourage trained individuals to be autonomous and schedule work days for themselves and other volunteers throughout the summer and fall seasons.

For questions, contact Stewardship Director Sami, at [email protected]

To learn more about this task force, and to sign up, visit https://scarboroughlandtrust.org/invasive-species-task-force/

For more information about the Scarborough Land Trust and how to become a supporter, visit www.scarboroughlandtrust.org or call (207) 289-1199.