by Esther Stokes, Atlanta Audubon Society Board Chair
Several years ago Walter Bland, a habitat restoration expert with Rock Spring Restorations, showed me—with great alarm—that we had Japanese chaff flower in Atlanta's Historic Fourth Ward Park. Until then, I had never even heard of this highly-invasive plant. Unfortunately, I am now finding it in my own garden. And when I removed it, the seeds stuck to my shirt. Yikes! It is with great concern that we want to alert all gardeners/homeowners/birders that this is a terribly invasive plant that spreads like wildfire. We need to learn what it looks like, and we need to do what is required to get rid of it in our yards and landscapes.
If you have this invasive plant in your garden, NOW is the best time to get rid of it, when the seeds are still on the plants. The first step is to cut the top of the plant off, stuff the seeds in a plastic bag, and then put them in the garbage, not in the compost pile.
Click here to link to an article on the Atlanta Trails website by Lisa Frank about this highly invasive plant, what it looks like, and how to remove it from your landscape. Walter Reeves also has a page dedicated to this invasive species on his website.