, Derry, New Hampshire

October 3, 2013

Commission battles knotwood

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — It’s an insidious weed that hangs on tight.

Japanese knotwood is giving Conservation Commission members a bit of a headache as it grabs on to property and doesn’t readily let go.

Conservation officials are hoping more community members might want to get involved to help stamp out the winding weed.

It’s often a constant battle to fight the plants that take over lands, not only knotwood, but also bittersweet, and other invasive plants and grasses like barberry.

At the Derryfest celebration last month, Conservation Commission members offered information to the public on knotwood and invited people to join the fight and sign up to clean up certain parcels of land around town.

A map was created showing specific grids of property where help is needed. Conservation Commission members are also choosing locations to look after.

“We need more people to take some of the grid areas,” Conservation Commission Chairman Margie Ives said.

She said this particular plant has long roots and spreads like wildfire.

People who choose to pitch in and cut it down need to follow disposal guidelines. That includes cutting, bagging and then bringing it to the Derry transfer station for proper disposal. That way there is no danger of any remnants catching hold somewhere else in the process.

“Do not just drop it anywhere,” Ives said. “Don’t let it sit where it will spread.”

The Conservation Commission has hosted initiatives in the past to keep invasive plants from taking over land. The group has used state grant money to help battle certain species.

One property that got help in the past was the Shepard Park property in East Derry. Special programs and workshops are also offered to spread information about battling the invasive plants.

Ives said the knotwood project could last a month. She invites more people to join the cause and take a section of land. Information on the Conservation Commission’s mission can be found at

A meeting April 24, town councilors approved having Conservation Commission members apply for and use state grant money to help battle invasive species at the Shepard Park property in East Derry.

The money comes as a two-phase project, totaling $21,500.

Funding comes through the state of New Hampshire’s Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food.

Rockingham County Conservation District staffers will oversee projects at the Shepard Property, including treatments, native plantings, data collection and presentation of results.

Last spring, Conservation Commission members hosted a workshop on identifying dangerous plants at Shepard, how to remove them and then replant the area with native plants.

Bittersweet is a big problem at the 35-acre property, along with other invasive plants and grasses like barberry and Japanese knotwood.

The projects have no impact on the town’s budget.

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