Monday, April 16, 2007

Invasive species Japanese stiltgrass meets climate change

In gardening, surprise is part of the challenge and promise. Just when you think you have the climate and local environment down pat, nature steps in and erases the composition leaving you a partially blank canvas to complete, once again. This analogy extends to the great gardens of natural areas as observed in this piece plucked from the Mid Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council list serve.

“In early April the Microstegium in central West Virginia was emerging and was about 1/4" tall when the big freeze hit. We had several consecutive days of night time temperatures in the low 20's or colder. It now appears that a majority of the first germination Japanese stiltgrass is dead in much of the region and what did not get killed was severely damaged by the very cold temperatures.

It will be interesting to see how thick the second germination will be when the weather warms. Russ Richardson”

I have overheard a few hardy plant customers complaining about the lack of global warming this spring in the Washington metro area, and hesitate to explain the concept of averaging. I think we will go from spring to summer here in the southern mid Atlantic and the same gardeners will be wishing for the wet cool weather.

Meanwhile, for some of us, perhaps, a respite from the onslaught of this natural area invading weed.

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