Sunday, December 27, 2009

Corktree Early Detection and Rapid Response

Southern Illinois Weed Watch is working.
By: Sarah Calloway
Nancy Garwood, research professor at Southern Illinois University, identified several Amur corktree plants, Phellodendron amurense, on her property. Several were already mature and bearing fruit in the fall of 2008.
At a Southern Illinois Weed Watch training session in March of 2009, Nancy mentioned finding these trees to Chris Evans, River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area Coordinator. This species, while being listed as an invasive in other parts of the United States, had not previously been reported as present in southern Illinois. In early November 2009, Nancy updated Chris on new specimens she had found.
On November 5th, 2009, a site visit was made to check the cork trees. The following week, Nancy reported that she located more of these non-native trees on neighboring land, as well as several large specimens and many seedlings on the Shawnee National Forest. Chris and Nancy contacted the Forest to schedule a site visit to look at the trees.
In mid November, a site visit was made by Chris, Nancy and several Forest employees. Nancy had previously flagged and GPS'ed the cork trees on her property and those within the Forest. They decided to remove the cork trees by cutting them with a chainsaw or ax, and/or pulling the saplings and seedlings. The trees were removed at the beginning of December, 2009, by Shawnee National Forest employees. The stumps of the cork trees will be monitored for re-sprouts and the area will be monitored to remove seedlings or saplings.
Amur corktree is a deciduous tree named for its thick, corky bark that has a distinctive bright yellow layer of inner bark. It does especially well in forests and wooded areas that have been exposed to human disturbance, where it forms dense stands and crowds out native species, including oaks and hickories. The Amur corktree has been reported as invasive in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Massachusetts (
The collaborative effort between the Shawnee National Forest and the River-to-River Cooperative Weed Management Area, developed over the past couple of years, has been highly beneficial not only to the Forest but to all of southern Illinois in protecting ecosystems across boundaries.
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