Westford Invasive Species
The removal of many of the invasive species now found in Westford will help preserve the biodiversity, use and future welfare of our town. The Westford Conservation Trust Invasive Species Committee has set a goal to manage one particularly aggressive invasive called mile-a-minute (MAM) vine by manually pulling it out and disposing of it.
This committee is working in collaboration with SUASCO-CISMA (Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord (SuAsCo) watershed – Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) as part of the Early Detection program for this particular invasive plant. The trust is a principal partner of SUASCO-CISMA which has provided grant support for this project.
We have an excellent crew of dedicated volunteers, but we really need your help to augment their efforts. If you would like to participate in this program or would like to find out more about us and our invasives committee, feel free to contact us at email@example.com
If you are a Westford resident and are wondering if you have an invasive on or near you property, feel free to contact us for identification and/or advice on controlling it.
Mile-a-minute (MAM) Schedule for 2023
This year is the 12th year of our Mile-a-minute control program. Our first Mile-a-minute invasive vine pull for 2023 will be Saturday, July 1 from 9-11am at the Grey Fox Lane site (park on Grey Fox Lane).
When we begin the pulls, please wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt. work gloves, insect repellant, sturdy footwear, and hand clippers to help with movement through dense vegetation that includes Poison Ivy. We will supply collection bags. We typically alternate pulling at the two main sites (Grey Fox Lane and Laughton Farms) every two weeks. We will send out reminder emails a few days before each pull.
As always, we invite all volunteers to join us in our control efforts this year.
The following is our planned schedule for this year (all are Saturdays 9 -11am)
7/1 Grey Fox Lane / Randolph Circle / Acker
7/15 Laughton Farms
7/29 Grey Fox Lane / Randolph Circle / Acker
8/12 Laughton Farms
8/26 Grey Fox Lane / Randolph Circle / Acker
9/9 Laughton Farms
9/23 Laughton Farms & Grey Fox Lane
We invite volunteers to join us in our control efforts this year. If you would like to help with our MAM control efforts or have questions about possible invasives on your property, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you!
Gerry DiBello – Invasives Control Committee
Summary of MAM management in Westford for 2022
For 2022 we had a wet spring and drought conditions in June, July, and August. These conditions contributed to a lean year for MAM with only 23.5 pounds of vines harvested.
Summary of MAM management in Westford for 2021
For the 10th year in a row a few dedicated volunteers have been trying to control the very invasive Mile-a-Minute vine found here in Westford by hand pulling. The wet spring and summer contributed to a large crop of the plant at the three sites we’ve been monitoring. Two of the sites are near Stony Brook. Almost 100 pounds of vines were harvested and disposed of this past summer. Our main goal is to try and keep the seeds of the plant from getting into Stony Brook where they could be carried downstream. Seeds can stay viable for many years
Summary of MAM management in Westford for 2020
In the summer of 2020 the all-volunteer Invasives Control Group of the Westford Conservation Trust continued their efforts to control the Mile-a-minute invasive vine here in Westford. Drought conditions last summer probably accounted for our sparse harvest of 8.8 pounds of vines at all sites during the entire summer season. For comparison, in the summer of 2019, we harvested a total of 105 pounds of vines at four sites in Westford and one on the Littleton/Westford line.
Summary of MAM management in Westford for 2019
In the summer of 2019 the all volunteer Invasives Control Group of the Westford Conservation Trust continued their efforts to control the Mile-a-minute invasive vine here in Westford. In 2019 we had a wet spring and summer that caused the MAM to flourish when compared to the dry year of 2018. In the summer of 2019 we harvested a total of 105 pounds of vines at four sites in Westford and one on the Littleton/Westford line. For comparison, we harvested a total of 67 pounds of vines in the summer of 2018.
Summary of MAM management in Westford for 2018
This was the eighth year of the program. Our efforts have resulted in fewer plants germinating from prior years’ seed banks. 2018 was a year that included a lot of rainy days and this may be the reason we removed many more vines than in 2017. We typically alternate pulling at the two main sites (Grey Fox Lane and Laughton Farms) every two weeks and monitor/pull at a new site on Randolph Circle less often. There are other sites that we also survey (Littleton/Westford line and Pilgrim Village). The public’s help is encouraged to help spot new infestations of MAM. Please see information on this page on how to identify MAM vines.
For the 2018 season, we conducted MAM pulls at the Laughton Farms, Grey Fox Lane, and Randolph Circle sites along with 5 pulls at the Pilgrim Village Site. All these pulls were conducted by Bill Harman. Many thanks to Bill for his efforts. Total weight was 67.4 pounds of vines. The total was almost double the amount harvested in 2017.
More MAM vines were noted at all locations than the previous year except for the Pilgrim Village site. Rain appears to help the germination of the MAM seed bank that has accumulated in years past. Seeds can be viable in the soil for up to 6 years and can germinate at staggered intervals (NYIS.info).
As in 2017, we also noted that invasive Japanese Hops were present in large quantity at the Laughton site toward the back of homes along Boxwood Road Circle.
One pull was also done at the Littleton/Westford site near Acton yielding 9.2 pounds of vines.
Summary of MAM management in Westford for 2017
This was the seventh year of this program. Our efforts have resulted in fewer plants germinating from prior years’ seed banks. 2016 was very dry and this may be the reason we pulled a total of less than 9 pounds of vines for the entire season. We typically alternate pulling at the two main sites (Grey Fox Lane and Laughton Farms) every two weeks. There are other sites that we also survey (Littleton/Westford line for example).
The board decided to continue our program for MAM management in Westford for 2017.
For the 2017 season, we conducted 7 MAM pulls at the Laughton Farms & Grey Fox Lane sites along with 1 pull at the Pilgrim Village Site. Total weight was 38.7 pounds of vines.
More MAM vines were noted at all locations than the previous year. Our theory is the heavy rains that occurred in the Spring of 2017 may have affected some of the existing MAM seed bank. Seeds can be viable in the soil for up to 6 years and can germinate at staggered intervals (NYIS.info)
We also noted that Japanese Hops were present in large quantity at the Laughton site toward the back of homes along Boxwood Rd Circle.
One pull was also done at the Littleton/Westford site near Acton.
We also pulled MAM at a new location near Westford Center. This will be surveyed by a homeowner there and several members of the invasives committee as needed for 2018.
Two main MAM sites were added to EDDMapS. Select the EDD logo then zoom in to Westford and click on either marker. You can click on the Record ID to see all the details.
Invasives Species Resources
Purdue MAM Fact Sheet
Ecological Landscaping Assoc.
Conn. Invasive Plant Working Group
New England Wildflower Society
Invasive Plant Alternatives
Mass. Invasive Plant Advisory Group
Mass. Lakes and Ponds Program with information on aquatic invasives and the importance of cleaning your boat
From the New England Wild Flower Society video series on invasive plants.