Sloan's Pond is a popular wayside attraction along the main road running through Mammoth Cave National Park. It is encircled by a boardwalk with several small piers overlooking the pond. Unfortunately, the site's popularity has also brought quite a few invasive exotics into the area. Thus far the crew has removed Multiflora Rose from the areas surrounding the boardwalk. There are still several other invasive species in the area including Japonese Honeysuckle, Non-native Wisteria, and Chinese Yam. Thanks to our team, the Chinese Yam (Dioscorea oppositifolia) found at Sloan's pond became the first documented infestation of its type found within park boundaries. As such we will be returning to treat these populations to prevent further spread.
Rosa multiflora, Dioscorea oppositifolia, Lonicera japonica, Wisteria spp.
Hand tools were used to cut back the Multiflora rose bushes and the stems were then treated with herbicide from hand sprayers. Extra care was taken to avoid using herbicide in close proximity to the pond or wet marshy areas. In some cases the rose bushes were cut without applying herbicide because of their proximity to the water. In other cases our team was unable to reach the rose bushes without trampling very sensitive wet environments and these ares were left alone entirely. The other invasive species were left untreated but the locations of the Chinese Yam populations was documented and reported to the Park Service. We will be working with them closely to develop a control plan for these populations that minimizes environmental impacts to the aquatics communities nearby.
The first project the crew tackled at Mammoth Cave National Park was a daunting 5 acre plot of Ailanthus altissima (Tree-of-Heaven). The site had been treated in previous years but a dense population of Ailanthus had resprouted since then. As seen in the photos below, the Ailanthus had crowded out almost all other tree species from the area and as if that weren't bad enough a dense carpet of Microstegium vimineum (Nepalese Browntop) had formed on the forest floor! We cleared 3.7 acres of Ailanthus before moving on to our next project site. This plot will continue to see attention from the Park Service and volunteer groups to ensure that these species do not continue to spread.
Ailanthus altissima & Microstegium vimineum
Hand tools were used to cut the small Ailanthus trees as close to the ground as possible. Hand sprayers were then used to apply herbicide to the cut stumps to effectively kill the root and prevent further resprouting. The Microstegium was left untreated but large populations were reported to the Park Service for future control.