submitted by Athena Demetry – SEKI Restoration Ecologist
The Grant Grove invasive plant team, despite an eventful weather system this June, is close to accomplishing its goal of halting reed canarygrass seed production in Wilsonia and Kings Canyon National Park this year. Reed canarygrass is an invasive grass which has been expanding its range in the park and Wilsonia, changing important wetland ecosystems into monocultures. These monocultures have excluded native vegetation which is depended upon by countless invertebrates and vertebrates, and threaten every mid-elevation meadow of the Sierra if allowed to spread. Because reed canarygrass has a relatively short-lived seed, preventing seed production is key to the success of the project, as well as destroying mature plants. Park employees, with support from Wilsonia residents, are using a number of methods to accomplish this. The large black cloth in some of the meadows is being used to inhibit light from reaching the plants, killing mature plants. The cloth will be left long enough for the seeds to perish, and once removed, park employees will plant native vegetation currently being grown in the Park’s nursery at Ash Mountain. Another meadow is being repeatedly mowed, a method that’s been successful in reducing reed canarygrass dominance in other parts of the country. Employees are also using the herbicide glyphosate. Though glyphosate is non-selective, the invasive plant crew has been happy to see that some native vegetation, namely lupines and ferns, have been somewhat resistant to the low concentration of herbicide being used. Though initial treatments have nearly been completed, park staff will continue to monitor treated areas and follow up with spot treatments when necessary. The invasive plant team would like to thank Wilsonia residents for their support and invite any questions or discussions. Call Jonathan Humphrey at (559) 565-3720, Athena Demetry at (559) 565-4479, or just stop by when you see them out there working.
Reed Canarygrass Control in Wilsonia brochure