Clearing The Invasive Oriental Bittersweet Vine on Appalachian Trail at US-40 in Maryland

Oriental Bittersweet pictured above along the I-70 Freeway in Maryland.

Oriental Bittersweet is an invasive vine that is a native of East Asia. It grows very well here in Maryland. So well that it will grow to the top of a 50 foot tall tree, strangle it (hide the tree from daylight) which eventuall will kill the tree. The tree will then fall and become a blowdown to clean up. Or get left there.

The trouble with leaving the blowdown there is the bittersweet will grow over the downed tree and look like a hedge. Meanwhile it’s secretly planning an attack on nearby tree spreading 50 to 80 feet at a time in this manner.

I’ve been working controlling Oriental Bitterswwet at the Appalachian Trail Trailhead and along the Appalachian Trail as it crosses the power line clearing near US-40 in Maryland. There is really quite a lot of bittersweet here. Acres and acres of it in fact. I’m tackling the area near the trail where the fallen trees will cause work and hazards.

I use a Stihl Hedge Trimmer to chop the vines up and the result is pretty impressive. It does take a lot of time. I’m going to keep on this stuff and keep cutting it so it eventually will die from many of cuts. Then when controlled native vegetation will return while continual prevention of new bittersweet plants sprouting here. It will be a permanent task.

Oriental Bittersweet Controlled on AT
Oriental Bittersweet Controlled on AT

Here is a picture of Oriental Bittersweet out of control at the US-40 AT Trail Head. Much of this are is already been worked on but I didn’t take pictures yet.

Oriental Bittersweet Growing Over Trees on Appalachian Trail in Maryland
Oriental Bittersweet Growing Over Trees on Appalachian Trail in Maryland

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