variegated japanese knotweed

Northeast Harbor, ME

Does anyoneone have an experience with this being invasive? Clearly, the straight species is, but what about this cultivar?

The cultivar is probably classified as invasive. Fallopia japonica 'Variegata' is a rhizomatous plant just like its momma the straight species.

Northeast Harbor, ME

I'm not so worried about it being a garden thug so much as I'd hate to see it seed itself around.

Bad news then for you in nice cold zone 5 to 3 Maine because Fallopia japonica 'Variegata' will hybridize with the straight species and set seed. It reproduces both sexually and asexually which is one of the reasons why its more than just a garden thug. Really glad you asked. It's nice to see a growing number of people who actually care.

Northeast Harbor, ME

Well, too bad, when in the shade the variegation is superb. There's not too much knotweed here compared with other parts on New England and that's okay with me. There's nothing anymore unattractive to me than a nauralized stand of the stuff with with Tree of Heaven poking out the top of it. Guess I'll just have to be content with variegated Miscanthus (just kidding).

Here I am at work just stopping in for a peek before a meeting and I read this- [quote]Guess I'll just have to be content with variegated Miscanthus[quote] I was somewhat distracted before I even logged on to DG and for a fleeting moment I missed your (just kidding) comment. Pretty funny actually. Thanks for my mid morning jolt.

Northeast Harbor, ME

What else would you expect from a guy who calls himself, Buckthorne:)

Funny you should mention your user name because that's exactly the information my brain must have been processing at a subliminal level.

I have been fondly referred to as the Buckthorn Queen in the past. Shall we dub you the Rhamnus King?

I've got over 6000 downed with stumps treated on both private and public lands to my credit.

Northeast Harbor, ME

Nah, I like just Buckthorne, sorta like like a malevolent anti-hero. Besides, if you got to know me you might find that queen is a more appropriate appelation for me too.

Congratulations on the death toll. Those nice red roots are very easy to dislike.

OK, you win. Rhamnus Queen it is. My oldest brother always made me let him be the Queen when I was little so you can be the Rhamnus Queen and I'll be the Buckthorn Princess. More than enough room for two.

Northeast Harbor, ME

Nice! A mistress of annihilation that plays well too.

So in the area of "natives", where do you plant the flag?

I've often had difficulty with the notion. What's native here in coastal Maine will never find a place in many other parts of the country. What grows here is mostly a survival of the fittest for this region alone. Much farther south than Massachusetts and things like Wintergreen, Bunch berry, White Pine, low bush Blueberry, Paper Bark Birch et al. don't fair so well. Yet others, like perennials from the plains do fine here.

Sometimes, I find them to be invaders, albethey not invasive.

In fact, even Miscanthus probably wouldn't be invasive here because I don't think that it's warm enough for good germination. While I realize that standards need to be set, do you think that, with time, a more regonal definition of invasive or, even, native might be more appropriate?

I dunno but I'm interested in your opinion.

Eesh, horrible thing to ask of a person. You brut you. Right now, I think we're in such deep do do that we need to focus on the species that pose the greatest threats to public health regardless of what ecosystem they are invading.

We are the United States, we're in this together. What you do affects me and what I do affects you. Back to that old bubble deal. We don't live in one. Best to educate yourself and make the best possible choices you can make for you because I truly don't believe we'll be seeing any clear cut definition of invasive at a regional level. It's impossible lest one exclude every plant in every county that didn't occur there naturally prior to European colonization and even then there would be those who would want to go back farther. There are simply too many different ecosystems within each region. In other words; where I plant the flag is based on my own personal experiences, limited knowledge, and corresponding understanding of the predicament we've gotten ourselves into as well as being intimately familiar with my own property and the surrounding natural areas. Here's one example, would I plant a rose? No. They are grown here and some people are quite successful with them but... they are too chemically dependent. Simply stated, they require far too many chemicals to keep them insect and fungus free. And once they are infested, one needs to deal with secondary pathogens attacking the roses that need to be treated. Roses are a lot like turf grass to me these days; senseless money makers for chemical companies. Irises on the other hand... can't get enough of them. None are indigenous to anywhere on the continent of NA.

Man is moving these plants around and man should probably give it a break for a while until we get a grip on the situation.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

What an interesting discussion you've started Buckthorne. I would like to find clearer guide lines so I don't repeatedly made mistakes, and mistakes run both ways. Native plants that are too large and aggressive and just don't fit on smaller suburban lots. I know, you are talking about real invasive species that destroy whole eco system, and this, of course, is of prime importance. But if the average gardener is given good choices how much easier the bigger task would be. So how can the average(or obsessed) home gardener be responsible and have a beautiful, wildlife friendly yard? I have found only one book, probably out of print, that helps choose native plants in a decorative garden setting, "Wildflowers in your Garden A Gardener's Guide" by Viki Ferreniea, 1993 Random House. Regional gardening guides that use native plants (and non invasive exotics) in this smaller setting would be invaluable.

I know you are just using roses as an example but I have one Rose (Rosa virginia) that is listed in"Native Plants in the Northeast" by Donald J. Leopold as having a natural range from Newfoundland to Pennsylvannnia and Virginia, inland to Missouri. Rosa carolina, blada, nutkana, palustris, setigera and woodsii, are also listed as native in "Native Trees, Shrubs & Vines" by William Cullina. I planted my Rose for the small rose hips eaten by birds. This is where "home gardeners" get in the most trouble, trying to support with plantings native wildlife- usually birds- because we are steered to invasive plants by wildlife friendly sites. Who hasn't planted a butterfly bush because it was recommended by experts only to have to rip it out later? It is very hard to find good information and expensive to make mistake. Simple clear books that fit that decorative regional slot and better coordination between the different conservation sources would be a good place to start IMHO.

Clearer guidelines won't be forthcoming anytime in the near future. We must create those guidelines ourselves.

You hit it, common names are big trouble because I certainly wasn't referring to the indigenous roses. Right now I'm thinking of the last beautiful Jackson & Perkins tea rose my MIL bought me but toss in all the Sub Zeros and Icebergs she bought me too.

What you described above is why I decided to only plant locally indigenous species in all of the natural areas of my property. Up in tight around my home, I am a little bit more relaxed but even there I increasingly find I am using more and more native plants. When gardening for wildlife, it becomes extremely important to focus on the four basic elements that wildlife needs to survive as well as to focus on sustainable gardening practices which means one will be selecting locally native plants almost exclusively. I pulled this from a California Native Plant Society but it applies to plants that are indigenous to New Jersey or any other state-

"native plants evolved here over a very long period, and are the plants which the first Californians knew and depended on for their livelihood. These plants have co-evolved with animals, fungi and microbes, to form a complex network of relationships. They are the foundation of our native ecosystems, or natural communities.

Our native plants, having evolved here, are ideally suited to perform, such ecological services as manufacturing oxygen and filtering impurities from our water. These plants also do the best job of providing food and shelter for native wild animals. Plants are a cornerstone of biological diversity. Biodiversity is vital to humans, because our survival depends on the earth and its life forms. Native plants are used in the development of new foods, medicines and industrial products"

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Well, I would love to buy local native plants and do have a few sources and then it is not always clear to me where these "local" natives have come from. Frequently the natives are hybrids that look prettier or are smaller and fit the site better . Even with those choices I feel lucky to get close to native.

This message was edited Jan 27, 2007 9:18 AM

I'm in the same boat frequently. What I learned is that by joining local native plant groups, people share with each other. They share seeds and plants and sources.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Good thought using the local native plant groups . Mine is too far to use often but my local garden club has a environmental/conservation chair that I plan to make more use of.

Northeast Harbor, ME

I don't have any time today to respond but the topice of roses from several entrie ago prick up my typing fingers. There are tons and tons of lovely species roses that deserve a mention: R. setigera, palustris,, virginiana, carolina. All of which are native, chem free, and wildlife friendly. But that moves off topic, I know. This has been a swell thread so far.

Thank you both Equilibrium and sempervirens. I'll get back tomorrow when I have more time.

I love the chem-free and wildlife friendly native roses. I will add several to my landscape as soon as I get the Multiflora Rosa under control over here. That's a tough invasive for me to physically remove for obvious reasons.

Northeast Harbor, ME

I think two things:

1. I'd like Michael Pollan who wrote (amoung other things) The Botany of Desire and The Omnivores Dilemna to pick up this topic too. He's a fantastic writer and usually a top seller. I don't think that there's any way around this topic but by education and, to a certain extent, legislation.

Mass marketing will never be able to handle it because it's too hard to make tons of money on such a localized issue.

As with food, it seems that we need to request regionally specific plants in order to make a demand. I don't think it matters much just where the plants are propagated and grown interms of any discussion about invasives but it might matter from a wildlife perspective if the nutritional qualities are bred out of the fruits.

I do know one thing, the turkeys in my neck of the woods have no problem at all with eating all the lovely hybrids of winterberry that I've set out for them. (Blast them........)

2. I wish that there were a clear cut economic gain to plnting more wisely. Solar power, wind power, and other forms of conservative energy have a very clear economic equation. Itinitial outlay means savings down the road. No so with wise planting.

And the model of English design with its turf grass and high maintenance borders realy can't be duplicated using only locally native plants. Oehme (Hope I spelled the name right) and van Sweden have designed some very nice naturalistic landscapes and gardens that are good model. Piet Oudolf also comes to mind. But that movement hasn't taken hold the way it would need to in order for the whole thing to come together.

And then, the mown lawn isn't necessarily the lowest maintenance element of our landscapes but it's the easiest to maintain. And ease of maintance is first on the mind of most everyone I've ever spoken to (gardeners aside). Some day I'd love to see a lawn of Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird'.

Equilibrium - When you take out the Rosa multiflora, consider replacing it w/ Rosa setigera. I feel for you having to take on that battle. It's a tough one that I've tackle many a time. This is the best time of the year to do it, though. A good thick coat is the best set of armour.

I believe a clear cut economic gain is out there- ever read the Pimental Report from Cornell-
I believe our clean up costs are fast approaching the 200 billion mark.

We've been sold a bill of goods on lawns being low maintenance, that's for sure. I'm eliminating mine and going for species that would have been indigenous to the short grass prairie. I'm starting with a monoculture of Buchloe dactyloides and I'll add more species from there.

It's been in the single digits here. Even if I use my weed wrench, the multiflora aren't coming out of the ground right now. I hate that plant. It hurts me and it destroys my clothing. It's right up there with all that Asian and European Barberry popping up all over the place here but at least I'm getting those when they are small before they're getting a foot hold.

Hey BQ- you need an appropriate staff-
I'm just a Princess so I use the light version as my staff!

Northeast Harbor, ME

Just put out a bunch of Eragrostis spectabilis myself:) I'll have to look up Buchloe.........

That's a real pretty one too. Form and function!

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