Thursday, August 20, 2020

Purple Loosestrife making a comeback?

Photos by Barry Wallace
Driving the concessions and sideroads around King this summer, I'm seeing a lot of Purple Loosestrife plants, along the roadsides, that I haven't noticed in recent years.   Purple Loosestrife became a big problem in Ontario many years ago as it took over wet areas including roadside ditches, where the stands reduced nutrients and space for native plants and degraded wildlife habitat.   In 1992, Canada and the US. approved the release of two European leaf-eating beetles that are natural enemies of purple loosestrife and feed primarily on the plant.   The effect was to reduce loosestrife populations by up to 90%, allowing native plants to re-establish.   It may be time to re-think this strategy.

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

1 comment:

  1. On last years return visit to Southern Ontario I noticed phragmite was everywhere , it had seemed to have taken hold in every ditch and marsh.. This past winter I watched a documentary where the locals around Long Point Prov. Park , Turkey Pt. & Rondeau Park were fighting a losing battle against this invasive grass which devastates the habitat for all things that live in the wetlands. Recently there have been encouraging signs that spraying is an effective way to kill it off.