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Programs winning the war on knotweed

As part of the effort to eradicate invasive Japanese knotweed regionally, program participants met August 5. From left to right   are: Elizabeth Mangle, Avery Menz, Terry DeArmas, Doug Johnson, Brendan Quirion, Ryan Burkum, Jaden Aronow (lake steward), Gregory Cerne (Paul Smiths lake steward), Evelyn Greene and Ellen Collins.

As part of the effort to eradicate invasive Japanese knotweed regionally, program participants met August 5. From left to right are: Elizabeth Mangle, Avery Menz, Terry DeArmas, Doug Johnson, Brendan Quirion, Ryan Burkum, Jaden Aronow (lake steward), Gregory Cerne (Paul Smiths lake steward), Evelyn Greene and Ellen Collins.

— The Town of Inlet's Regional Inlet Invasive Plant Program in has treated tens of thousands of Japanese knotweed plants with herbicide from its forming in 2008 through 2010. These invasive plants were found at more than 100 sites in Blue Mountain Lake, Indian Lake, Inlet and Webb.

This year, the program will continue efforts in those towns and also identify and treat sites in Lake Placid, Long Lake, North Creek, North River, and Saranac Lake. Other knotweed control efforts this summer include the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program on state property, and Hamilton County Water and Soil Conservation District around Speculator.

Japanese knotweed forms dense thickets of thick bamboo-like hollow stems, with mature heights over 10 feet and an extensive network of underground roots. The leaves are somewhat heart-shaped with white lacy flowery clusters that form in August. Cutting knotweed after June 1 is not recommended. There must be enough growth to allow effective herbicide application. Digging the plant's roots is not recommended; tiny root fragments can start new plants. Proper treatment with an herbicide, glyphosate, is very effective. Treatment of sites near rivers and streams is important to prevent downstream spread.

Knotweed has been eradicated at many sites, and should be eradicated at many others in the next few years. The community has pitched in, with volunteers identifying sites and obtaining property owner permissions. Invasive plant coordinators include Ellen Collins (Blue Mountain Lake), Terry DeArmas (Indian Lake), Patty Wittmeyer (Inlet, Eagle Bay), Larry Master (Lake Placid), Chuck Taylor (Long Lake), Judy Brown and Evelyn Greene (North Creek, North River), and Leslie Karasin (Saranac Lake).

Volunteers are needed for other communities including Cranberry Lake, Old Forge, and Tupper Lake. Hilary Smith and Brendan Quirion from the Adirondack Invasive Plant Program are helping, as well as Elizabeth Mangle and Lenny Croote from the Hamiton County Water and Soil District. Certified applicators include Ryan Burkum, Jerry Charbonneau, Lenny Croote, Doug Johnson, Avery Menz, and Brendan Quirion. Patty Wittmeyer, Inlet Town Clerk, and Doug Johnson, a summer resident of 7th lake, are coordinating efforts.

There is no cost to property owners for the herbicide applications. Many have helped with donations, and this year the program received a $10,000 grant from the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program. Tax-deductable donations are essential for efforts to continue and should be made payable to: Town of Inlet, Invasive Plant Control Fund; and mailed to Town of Inlet, P.O. Box 179, Inlet NY 13360. Visit www.noknotweed.org for information on the program and controlling knotweed.

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