Tennessee Invasive Plant Council
January 12, 2017
Our Mission


To protect Tennessee's unique natural heritage from the ecological and economic harm of invasive plants through research, education, and policy. 

Belinda Ferro,  TN-IPC Vice President
Letter from the Vice-President

Happy New Year! 2016 has been a big year for invasive plants in the news. I am encouraged that it is being covered by the media but discouraged that it seems to be an expanding problem world-wide. I am dedicating most of this issue to coverage of invasive plants globally. I think it's interesting to follow what is going on in other countries, as well as in our own backyards. Be sure to read Allan Trently's article below about the Tennessee Division of Natural Areas' partnership with scientists in Australia.
There are a few notable things to mention. Please consider participating in one of the Weed Wrangle® events being held by the Garden Club of America (local chapters) and Invasive Plant Control. TN-IPC supports these events and will be heavily involved. Weed Wrangle®, is a one-day, citywide, volunteer effort to help rescue our public parks and green spaces from invasive species through hands-on removal of especially harmful trees, vines and flowering plants. Learn more at http://www.invasiveplantcontrol.com/nisaw15.html
TN-IPC is still working on our web-site. The new site will be available soon. The old site is still functional. Please bear with us as we continue to upgrade so that we can provide better service. The National Invasive Species Council has a new web-site as well: https://www.doi.gov/invasivespecies/
Best wishes to all in 2017!

News and Resources

Invasive plants are a problem around the world, but are they just a nuisance or are they killers? So far there are no documented cases of native plants becoming extinct purely because of an alien plant invasion. However, researchers argue in a new paper that traditional methods of modelling extinction do not work well for plants.
The spread of non-native species threatens livelihoods and biodiversity, but the issue is worsened by global trade, travel and climate change. Writing in Nature Communications journal, and international team forecast how the spread of species could change over the 21st Century. They show that one-sixth of the world's land surface is vulnerable to invasion.
Xenophobia, the fear and hatred of anything that is strange or foreign, seems to drive the geopolitical upheavals plaguing our nation and others. Most of us would hate to be called xenophobic. Yet many of us are deeply concerned about the presence of certain plant species in places where they don't belong.
Metro parks is utilizing the Nashville Chew Crew to clear unwanted vegetation at Fort Negley. Utilizing sheep will provide better views and access around the stoneworks of the fort and and minimalize damage to the Civil War fort.
The Michigan-based Great Lakes Commission built a computer program to search websites and found dozens of plants and animals considered invasive species in Minnesota and other states are easily available. It allows officials to then contact online sellers and ask them to stop selling invasive species to states where they are regulated.
The water hyacinth is spreading, and Cairo is worried. Most measures taken to eliminate this plant have failed, and it threatens Egypt with an annual loss of 10% of its share of Nile waters.
A $1.16-million job creation partnership is putting people to work weeding out invasive plants and species in the southern Interior.
As leading figures from the world of law, ecology and technology prepare to come together and discuss how best to deal with non-native invasive plants in the UK, more research is still needed on how best to manage these species taking over the countryside.
An invasive plant that grows quickly and can impair fishing and boating has been spotted at Cave Run Lake near Morehead. State and federal officials are asking boaters for help in trying to stop the spread of the plant, called hydrilla.
Alberta's sniffer dogs, which already work to detect invasive mussels on boats in the summer, are now being trained to find an invasive plant in Fish Creek Provincial Park.
Seven species of yellow-faced bee native to Hawaii have become the first bees to be added to the US federal list of endangered and threatened species. Conservationists say the bees face extinction through habitat loss, wildfires and the introduction of non-native insects and plants.
An army of thorny, poisonous plants that once occupied two prime acres of Clemson University real estate has been swept from its stronghold by a coalition of goats and humans that slowly but surely pounded the gnarled invaders into submission.
An ornithological mystery has been solved! Puzzling red feathers have been popping up in eastern North America's "yellow-shafted" population of Northern Flickers, but they aren't due to genes borrowed from their "red-shafted" cousins to the west, according to a new study in The Auk: Ornithological Advances. Instead, the culprit is a pigment that the birds are ingesting in the berries of exotic honeysuckle plants.
The exposure of non-native plants and animals into new ecosystems is not without major consequence - whether it be wildfires, disrupted agriculture or endangered native species. These invasive species wreak havoc, costing local communities more than just dollar amounts. Here's a look at some of the most destructive invaders nationwide, and the true cost of these species on ecosystems.
The release of tiny insects to combat an invasive weed is paying off, according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
CHENNAI: The recent attacks by Indian gaur on people in Kodaikanal and Coonoor have once again brought to focus the need for clearing invasive tree species such as wattle, pine and eucalyptus.
Russian botanists report that imported trees such as the ash-leaved maple, which is common in North America, are threatening Siberia's indigenous ecosystem.
As we reported last year, on November 3, 2015, the province passed several new pieces of environmental legislation, including the Invasive Species Act, 2015. The province has now introduced regulations under the Act to ban the import, breeding, purchase and sale of 19 invasive species.
Scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs unite with positivity to take on the extensive problems posed by invasive species.

The Tennessee Division of Natural Areas Assists Australia in Biological Control Research

Allan J. Trently, West Tennessee Stewardship Ecologist

The Division of Natural Areas, Natural Heritage Program considers the aquatic plant Delta Arrowhead (Sagittaria platyphylla) a Species of Concern in Tennessee. According to the University of Tennessee Herbarium, the plant has been recorded in only eight Tennessee counties. In west Tennessee, it can be found at Reelfoot Lake in Lake and Obion Counties and Sunk Lake State Natural Area in Lauderdale County. Here, the plant can be found growing along the lake edges, within ditches, and in wet fields.
According to the online NatureServe database, delta arrowhead is known to occur in 16 states ranging from the southeast north to Ohio and west to Texas. Within this range, seven states rank it as critically imperiled, one state (Tennessee) ranks it as imperiled and the remaining states have not yet ranked the plant's status.
For such a rare plant it would seem paradoxical that it would be a problem weed anywhere. But this is the case in Australia where the plant is considered a noxious aquatic weed. It was first identified in Australia in 1959 near Brisbane. Since its initial occurrence, it has spread across most of Australia and has the potential to spread even further.
In Australia, delta arrowhead forms dense and widespread colonies in drains and channels. These dense stands cause decreases in the efficiency of crop irrigation which leads to production losses and increased irrigation costs. The plant has negative impacts to recreational activities primarily fishing and boating. It threatens native aquatic flora and fauna by competing with natives which eventually leads to reduced plant biodiversity. Control and eradication of the plant by mechanical and chemical methods is costly and labor intensive and has a low success rate. A new and better way to control this plant is sought after by the Australian authorities. One method that is being considered is biological control- the use of other organisms to control pest species.
I first met Dr. Raelene Kwong on August 16, 2010. Dr. Kwong is a Senior Research Scientist with Australia's Department of Primary Industries. I assisted Dr. Kwong and Jean-Louis Sagliocco (also with the Department of Primary Industries) in locating delta arrowhead at Sunk Lake State Natural Area and the following day along Bayou du Chien at Reelfoot Lake. Because the Division of Natural Areas keeps mapped records of rare Tennessee plants, we were able to go directly to known populations. Once at a population, insects feeding on the plants were collected as were a sample of the plants.
Dr. Kwong is interested in comparing the genetics of the North American delta arrowheads with populations in Australia. In turns out that the delta arrowheads in Tennessee are most similar genetically to the plants in Australia. This information shows that it is highly likely that the source of delta arrowhead in Australia originally came from Tennessee. Arrowheads most likely were shipped to Australia for nursery stock. Delta arrowhead is sometimes planted in wetland gardens.
She was also interested in the insects feeding on our arrowheads. Four species of weevils all in the genus Listronotus were collected. The most common and abundant weevil encountered was L. appendiculatus. Adults of this species feed on flowers and fruits. Their larva feed in the fruits where they cause significant destruction to the receptacle and developing seeds. Though this weevil was not the only target for biological control of delta arrowhead in Australia, it became a focus species.
I assisted the research again in 2015 and 2016 by collecting L. appendiculatus from delta arrowheads at Sunk Lake and Reelfoot Lake. 2015 was not a good year for weevils; I only collected 20 weevils despite looking at 100s of arrowhead flowers. 2016 was a different story- I collected 58 weevils. All my weevils were mailed alive to researchers in the United States. They were interested in finding out what other plants besides delta arrowhead the weevils would feed on. This is imperative research since these weevils may be released in Australia. If they also fed on native arrowheads in Australia, that would cause yet another conservation problem.
Dr. Kwong and Australian biologist Franz Mahi visited Tennessee in September of 2015. I assisted them in collecting weevils on Sagittaria latifolia, a common arrowhead in Tennessee at Ghost River State Natural Area. They also collected at Sunk Lake and Reelfoot Lake. They returned at in September 2016 along with Australian biologist Jackie Steel to collect larval weevils for identification.
Biological control of an exotic species can be risky. The control species may end up not actually controlling the exotic or it may end up harming a non-targeted species. When it does work, the benefits can be significant (ex. Weevils released in Lake Victoria have reduced the invasive exotic water hyacinth by 85%. The same weevil has had great success in controlling hyacinth in the United States). Intensive research before releasing an exotic biological control agent is necessary in avoiding negative results.
If all goes well, the Tennessee weevils may someday end up controlling delta arrowhead in Australia. The benefits to Australia's economy and ecology may be significant.
It was with great honor to have the privilege to work with the Australian biologists on this project. As a TDEC employee, you never know where your job will take you. The information on delta arrowhead populations provided by the Division of Natural Areas was important in making this research a success.

Native Plant Propagation: Seeds
Instructor: John Evans
Saturday, January 14, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m
Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center
ELECTIVE Class (4 credits)

Native Plant Propagation: Cuttings and Divisions
Instructor: John Evans
Saturday, February 11, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m
Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center
ELECTIVE Class (4 credits)

Ferns and Mosses
Instructor: Joey Shaw
Saturday, March 11, 2017
ELECTIVE Class (4 credits)

Designing for Nature
Saturday, March 18, 2017
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Keynote speaker will be Claudia West, author of Planting in a Post-Wild World

April 10
Myths & Realities of Native Plants
Speaker: Wilf Nicholls

May 8
Riparian Plants
Speaker: Bill Phillips

June 10
Prairie Restoration
Panel Discussion

July 15
This Plant, Not That
Speaker: Lisa Huff

August 14
To be announced

September 11
Sunflowers & Relatives
Speaker: Ed Schilling

All of the programs above are open to the public. With the exception of the symposium on March 18, all programs are FREE and will be held at 6:00pm at green|spaces, 63 E. Main St., Chattanooga TN
Multiple locations will be holding Weed Wrangle® events in 2017. Find a list of dates by location here: http://www.invasiveplantcontrol.com/nisaw15.html

May 9-11, 2017 - Savannah GA


Membership in TN-IPC is open to anyone with an interest in the problem of invasive exotic plants, their identification, impacts, and control. Our members include professional land managers, private landowners, individual homeowners, educational institutions, conservation and gardening organizations, and government agencies. Information on how to join is listed on our web-site.
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Feel free to contact any TN-IPC Board Member with questions or comments about invasive, nonnative plants.  Our contact information can be found on our website.  We'd love to hear from you!