Lake George Group Fighting Highly Invasive Iris Species
06/06/12 4:04PM By Jane Lindholm
The Lake George Association is asking landowners and citizen scientists to be on the lookout for a botanical bully. The Yellow Iris may look pretty, but it's a highly invasive, non-native species. According to the association's Director of Education, Emily DeBolt, it is damaging wetlands throughout the region. "It is taking over from our native wetland plants, disrupting native habitats for birds, for fish, for other wetland critters," she says. DeBolt says the plants look much like the native blue flag iris but these European imports trap sediment and speed up the process of a wetland filling in.
Vermont added the yellow iris to a list of plants that cannot be sold in garden centers, but it is still legal to buy yellow iris in New York. The Lake George Association is asking people to help get rid of it.
"Dig it up but you do need to make sure you get all the roots," DeBolt says. "If it's in the water you can just cut it under the surface of the water. You might have to end up cutting it a few times but it will exhaust the energy store in its roots and it will eventually be gone," she says. Botanists warn that the plants can irritate sensitive skin, so gardeners should wear gloves when dealing with any iris.