The Friday morning program at the Allegneny SAF meeting last week had two interesting presentations on the control of invasive plants in the region.
Dr. Don Davis, a forest pathologist from Penn State described the discovery of two species of Verticillium fungus that seem able to control the spread of Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven). Dr. Davis noticed that stands of Ailanthus in the Tuscarora State Forest were diminishing and even dying.
With his graduate students he isolated two species of soil fungi that seemed to be doing the quick. V. albo-atrum kills trees quickly and V. dahlia doesn't kill the trees outright but causes symptoms of morbidity and reduced growth. A lot of work remains to be done to determine if these fungi can be used on a wider scale to control the rapidly-spreading tree of heaven. Here is Dr. Davis' web site.
Mile-a-minute is a rapidly spreading weed in the mid-Atlantic. Originally from China, the variety in the US is thought to have come from China. Here is a link to more information on mile-a-minute.
Dr. Judith Hough-Goldstein from the University of Delaware described research to introduce a weevil from China that can slow down or suppress mile-a-minute. The stem-boring weevil, Rhinoncomimus latipes Korotyaev, attacks the plant from the inside. It won't kill mile-a-minute, but will reduce it to manageable levels. Here is the web page that describes the work and how to get weevils to try out on your own infestations.