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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mile-a-Minute Plant Targeted For Eradication

WFRM

The State Agriculture Department says Mile-a-Minute, an invasive, noxious vine that can kill other plants, is being targeted for removal this summer near Sinnemahoning State Park in Potter and Cameron counties.

Mile-a-Minute can kill native plants, depriving them of sunlight by rapidly growing over them. Mile-a-Minute is a state noxious weed regulated by the Pennsylvania Noxious Weed Control Law. Mile-a-Minute, or Polygonum perfoliatum, is native to Asia. The plant has a reddish stem armed with downward pointing, sharp hooks or barbs, also found on the underside of its light green triangular leaves. While not poisonous to humans, the barbs can tear clothing and cut the skin.

Photo from Wickipedia

Wearing gloves is recommended when handling the weed. The weed first was introduced to southeastern Pennsylvania in the 1940’s, where it is now widespread. The seeds were likely transported to the Sinnemahoning State Park and north to Costello, Pa., by water, migrating birds or other wildlife.

Property owners can hand-pull any vines discovered this summer to help limit its spread. Hand-removal, chemical-spraying or mowing of the vines before setting fruit is critical to preventing seed dispersal by birds and water. It may take several years of treatment to eliminate the weed completely.

Last summer, the Department of Agriculture and volunteers from the other organizations conducted a “weed walk” to determine the severity of the infestation along Route 872 and the first fork of the Sinnemahoning Creek.

This year, the agriculture department hired Cameron County resident Jim Zoschg to help slow the spread and eradicate the weed from private land in the Sinnemahoning Valley.

From April 14 – Aug. 29, Zoschg will travel in a white Dodge truck with state tags along Route 872, beginning at the northern edge of Sinnemahoning State Park and continuing through Costello.

To report this vine, or for assistance in controlling it on their property, landowners should contact Zoschg at 570-417-2661 or 814-486-0705. If property owners have already signed a consent-to-spray form and Mile-a-Minute weed is on their property, Zoschg can aid with the necessary steps to destroy the weed, which may involve mowing the weed before it produces seeds.

The Bucktail Watershed Association is also planning educational outreach efforts this summer relating to Mile-a-Minute. Todd Deluccia, Cameron County Watershed specialist, will work with Zoschg to remove the vine. Deluccia can be contacted at 814-486-9354.

Additionally, the Sinnemahoning State Park began implementing a management plan for the infestation in the park in 2006 and will continue the effort through this year. Anyone interested in volunteering with the park should contact Lisa Bainey or Jackie Flynn at 814-647-8401.

For more information about noxious weeds in Pennsylvania, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on "Animal and Plant Health," or contact Melissa Bravo at (717) 787-7204.

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