[On Sunday] I will be up at Little Paint Branch Park to work on clearing a patch of two aggressive invasive plants that are threatening the wonderful native woodlands plants that live there, and I'm inviting people to join me. The two plants (wavyleaf basketgrass and Japanese stilt grass) are very easy to remove, and it only takes a few minutes to learn to identify them.I googled around and found this about wavyleaf basketgrass in the blog Invasive Notes
An invasive species is spreading from the Baltimore area of Maryland south to Washington and west to the Blue Ridge of Virginia. Like a fire in the forest, wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus hirtellus subsp. undulatifolius (Ard.) U. Scholz, Phanerog. Monogr.)  is spreading rapidly and replacing the natural diversity with its mono-culture habit of eco-system and eco-service destruction. This grass, which remains taxonomically confused and, therefore, not precisely identified or categorized, is spreading in public parks and on private lands in the Baltimore Washington Metropolitan area.The other invasive species, Japanese Stilt Grass, is featured here.
Japanese stilt grass is currently established in 16 eastern states, from New York to Florida. It occurs on stream banks, river bluffs, floodplains, emergent and forested wetlands, moist woodlands, early successional fields, uplands, thickets, roadside ditches, gas and power-line corridors, lawns and gardens. Japanese stilt grass threatens native understory vegetation in full sun to deep shade. Stilt grass readily invades disturbed shaded areas, like floodplains that are prone to natural scouring, and areas subject to mowing, tilling and other soil-disturbing activities including white-tailed deer traffic. It spreads opportunistically following disturbance to form dense patches, displacing native wetland and forest vegetation as the patch expands. Japanese stilt grass appears to be associated with moist, acidic to neutral soils that are high in nitrogen.I took these two photos of stilt grass; the bottom photo shows the shiny midrib on its leaf.
The leaf of stilt grass has a distinguishing shiny midrib so you can tell it from other plants. It looks sort of like very delicate bamboo. They're easy to pull up, and we want to get them now before they start flowering and producing seeds next month. (One of the distinguishing characteristics of stilt grass is that it is very easy to pull up. If you have to tug or feel a wiry stem, it may not be stilt grass.)
Alas, I didn't take any photos of the wavyleaf basketgrass. (You can see these in the link to Invasive Notes above.) The leaves, as described, are, well, way...kind of rumpled and thicker than the stilt grass and also a bit hairy or fuzzy on the top. Some of that has started the flowering/seed process already. I found almost a dozen plants with seeds on them, and they require careful handling so as not to knock off the seeds. We put them in bags, but I don't know what our leader/guide will do with them. All the plants with seeds were growing under fallen branches resting about 6-8" above the ground. The basketgrass also sends out shoots from nodules along the stems, so it does produce a mat fast. The long shoots make it harder to pull up, too.
Even though my college degree is in biology, it was all human biology or microbiology--no plants. So I'm enjoying this tremendously. I think I may have found a good volunteer niche.
We were going to go yesterday (Sunday) but got rained out. Today was dry, sunny, and cooler...perfect for pulling weeds in the forest.