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Invasives invading

September 16, 2012
Rosa Musket, Marquette , The Mining Journal

To the Journal editor:

The commonly seen stiff, bushy herbaceous floral/plant with it's one inch in diameter light purple pom pom flowers is spotted knapweed.

Knapweed is whereever there is soil disturbance and within a couple of years on sodded, turf lawns.

All along the side of the Lakeshore Boulevard from Marquette to Presque Isle is what appears to be a hedge of knapweed. The roads leading to and from the Rio Tinto Mine site are boardered with knapweed where native trees once stood.

From the December 2004 issue of Smithsonian magazine, Joe Alper wrote,"Spotted knapweed is driving out native plants. The soil is left toxic to native species by the process of allelopathy done by knapweed's release of a chemical -the minus form of catechin."

Chemical methods have been used (in the western range lands) leaving the soil with chemicals and the knapweed still growing. It is quite easy to pull out with gloves to protect yourself from its carcinagenic properties,while an immature plant.

However, as it increases in size, a tool must be used. And do not put it in your compost if you are unable to burn or dispose of it. Contain it in a covered dark container in the sun.

Biological methods such as introducing an insect that in theory was to eliminate the plant only brought and increased the population of the host to ticks (who also thrived) -the white footed deermouse.

When native plants are not growing, soil erosion increases. Erosion eventually poses a problem to water quality and much of the world lacks drinking water due to the unavailability of it or the inability to afford it from the water company in control of it. Plants hold better than rock. Healthy soils are the result of eons of the processes in nature.

Soils are being lost at a rate that threatens food production. This beyond the praying for rain. Rain can quench a thirst. Without a healthy, living soil the replenishment of water is lost.

The future of jobs is in soil. Invasive species have cost the nation upwards of $140 billion. It is often said, "Everything comes with a price." Let our price be the willingness to put in the real work of sharing with our neighbors to leave a legacy of a healed community and home - this planet Earth.

There are many who will help you. What will you tell your grandchildren? From the shores of Gitchee Gumee, Lake Superior.

 
 

 

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