From Melie: This past month I had an interesting talk with Joe Henderson about invasive plants taking over Fishers Island. I asked him to write something for this months’ Fog Horn. If all of us try to control these unwanted plants on our properties and plant native ones, we can create a belt that will encourage birds and other wildlife to return to our wonderful Island.
Welcome to Asia: by Joe Henderson
You should be able to tell where you are in the world when you drive down a road. When you drive down the Main Road of Fishers Island, you are not in New York; you are in Asia. You can tell from the vines and plants, which are covering up our native oaks and cherries. Listen to the names: “Oriental” Bittersweet, “Japanese” Knotweed, “Japanese” Clematis. All these and the beautiful green/blue/purple berries of the “Asian” Porcelain Berry vine are imports from Asia, which have escaped onto our island. Those beautiful white flowers we see alongside our roads in September have no natural enemies and are literally strangling our native plants to death. Notice how perfect the leaves of these plants are. Our native insects cannot eat them! With no insects for birds to eat, we have fewer and fewer birds. Read or YouTube Douglas Tallamy’s book, Bringing Nature Home to get the full story. When you next plant a tree or bush, make it a native. Search “ct-botanical-society.org” to find plants and trees, which are native to this area. The state tree of Connecticut is the White Oak. It is one of the most productive trees for butterflies and birds.