A proud supporter of our community in ON, Canada
Verena Sesin received her Ph.D. in Environmental and Life Sciences from Trent University last year, where she studied how herbicide use for invasive plant control may affect nearby native and endangered plants. Verena calls herself a “gardener for science” as she spent a lot of time growing plants for her experiments in the greenhouse and outdoors. Verena has grown several plants herself, including cattails, water milfoil, Canadian waterweed, and scarlet ammannia.
If you have been out on the trails around Peterborough, chances are high that you have seen a huge wall of a specific grass: Phragmites. This plant is invasive and occurs all over Ontario – and it’s not picky at all, even thriving in roadside ditches! But why should you care? Invasive plants such as Phragmites are a serious problem for native biodiversity because they can grow so tall and densely that they can push out native plants and alter the habitat. Land managers and property owners often fight back through spraying herbicides – chemicals that kill the invasive plants. However, many herbicides are also toxic to native plants, and therefore native plants may not only be threatened by invasive plants but also by herbicide spraying. In this talk, I will explore a balanced approach to using herbicides in invasive plant control. I will tackle the question: How can we effectively remove invasive plants with herbicides while keeping native plants healthy?