Green Hills Hike

May 20, 2015

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager. Photo by Lisha Rowe

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We had beautiful weather for a hike at Green Hills last Saturday, and an hour and a half was the right amount of time to cover the roughly two miles of trails.

Here I’m pointing out the damage weevils (Rhinoncomimus latipes) are doing to invasive mile-a-minute (Persicaria perfoliata) seedlings. The weevils were introduced in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to slow the spread of mile-a-minute; the weevil is native to Asia where it feeds only on mile-a-minute, a member of the buckwheat family. Researchers looking for a biological control of mile-a-minute chose this weevil because it only feeds on this annual vine that is so invasive in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The feeding on the leaves by adults weevils doesn’t have as much effect as when they lay eggs and the larvae burrows through the stem. We have observed a later flowering start—mid-July instead of late June, and therefore fewer seeds overall (since it flowers continuously until frost). And a shorter internodal length (the length of the stem between leaves). So perhaps it’s no longer mile-a-minute, just a half-mile-a-minute.

The hike wasn’t all about weeds though. Kelsey Boyd, a Planning Assistant in our Conservation Services Department, talked about the development of a management plan for Green Hills Preserve. This document is nearly finished and will help us prioritize projects over the next few years there.

And our Volunteer and Engagement Manager, Debbie Beer, also pointed out all of the birds she was observing along the way. You can see the list on eBird here.