Stuff that ConFoUNds, INSPIRES, proVoKes and PerpleXes us.

Aliens Not from Space or South of the Border

Aliens have landed and they’re in our yard if not in yours. They didn’t come from space in some rocket ship nor are they the same that Arizona lawmakers had in mind when they gave police the right to demand papers from anyone they suspected had crossed the border illegally.

Lurking Deep in the Depths…

The latest was found migrating from the Mississippi River through canals towards the Great Lakes past electronic barriers.  It’s ugly.

These fish jump out of the water when a boat passes.  Boaters, Jet and Water skiers have been injured on the Illinois River.

A Face only a Mother could Lovesnakehead fish mouth teeth only a face a mother could love

The Potomac River, the dividing line between Maryland and Virginia is the site of another new menace to our shores.  Described as “vicious predators”  (but we’re not talking about lawless corporate Wall St bankers) this creature will travel from one watering hole to another across dry land.  As an obligate air breather it utilizes a suprabranchial organ and a bifurcate ventral aorta that permits aquatic and aerial respiration.

And although we could find no reported attacks on humans from snakeheads, those teeth remind us of the main character in Jaws.

And You Thought all You Were Getting was the Fine China

In the early 1900’s in Tennessee,  a foreign being was introduced to US soils.  Long before the styrofoam peanut, this plant species was used as a packing material for porcelain.  While the plant material was dead, it carried the seeds of many future generations.

japanese stiltgrassAsiatic or Japanese Stilt Grass is a non native lime-green grass which grows to heights of three feet blocking the growth of all but the tallest native species.  It grows in dense, monotypic stands and should be considered very invasive.

Japanese stilt grass, (Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus), occupies various habitats such as river banks, flood- plains, swamps, woodland thickets, and roadsides.  It spreads rapidly through naturally or artificially disturbed areas, replacing herbaceous ground vegetation within three to five years.  In undisturbed areas, it may spread more slowly.  Since it prefers moist and shaded areas, Japanese stilt grass is particularly common in wooded areas near streams or wetlands.

It is time-consuming to remove, but pulling by hand is the most effective if it is thorough and timed correctly.  Pulling before mid-September reduces unintentional spread of the current year’s seeds.  However, pulling before early July allows germination of new plants from the seed bank, which will mature during the remaining season and produce seeds.  August and early September seem to be good times to pull plants by hand in the mid Atlantic region.  A weed whacker may be used on dense stands as long as the stalks are non-flowering and the plants do not have enough time to mature and produce seeds.
We battle this plant constantly and although we persevere we have two grave concerns:

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