The National Park Service's Exotic Plants Management Teams

May 23, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The National Park Service staff wear a variety of hats. One responsibility that we might not think of is keeping invasive species at bay in what are described as some of the most iconic and ecologically important areas of the country. The Exotic Plant Management Teams were created to meet this challenge. Among the plants they must battle are Asian wistarias which overtake trees and shrubs in many locales. Here is their description of the damage they’ve observed. “It has been repeatedly noted that infestations of wistaria are so dense that they strangle or shade out existing vegetation and displace native species. Heavy infestations topple large canopy trees and increase sunlight to the forest floor.”  Also, wistarias sprout from stem and root fragments left in the soil so mechanical removal is not a completely viable remedy to eliminate this pest from an area.