Reclaim our woodlands!


(9/23/2020)

Urging outdoor enthusiasts to make contact to help reclaim our woodlands from this strangling vine! For the third year in a row, Winona County is working to get the message out on how to halt the spread of the invasive Oriental Bittersweet (OB) in SE MN. This clever vine, when in search of sunshine, encircles native trees and winds its way to the tree tops from the forest floor below, strangling them and smothering them from above. Plant diversity, wildlife habitat, and forest health succumb to this aggressive pest, which is why we need your help stopping it.

Growth of this noxious weed has dispersed throughout the bluffs in the City of Winona, but is hitting the hardest in the Homer, Pleasant Valley area. As winter approaches and berries are produced, the easily identifiable light orange berries attract birds that feed on them, further spreading the vines. Our bluffs urgently need our attention as mature oaks, maple and pine trees are dying due to excessive shading and physical breakage from these vines, eliminating sunlight and the flow of water and nutrients.

Volunteer events take place every Friday morning from 8:30-10:30, now through October, led by interns funded by a two-year grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). Volunteers are provided with hand tools and training on how to successfully remove the vines.

If you are willing to provide valuable, hard work while enjoying the beautiful bluff scenery and practicing social distancing, please sign up today to help out. Call 507-457-6574 or email invasives@co.winona.mn.us and join us in halting the progression of this non-native invader. Help is especially needed for elderly property owners who are unable to do this physical work themselves, because it’s in everyone’s interests to rid our county of this vine

 

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