Invasive Removal

WLBGremovalEscaped from a nearby cemetery, wavyleaf basketgrass (WLBG) has slowly been creeping into the understory of the Shenandoah National Park near Elkton since around 2005. Headwaters Master Naturalist and Virginia Native Plant Society member Chris Bowlen has led a removal effort for the last three years.

On June 23, Master Naturalists Betty Forrest and Jerry Hopkins joined Chris and I and our friend Bea Woody for a couple of hours of crawling among multiflora rose and poison ivy on the forest floor to pull up wavyleaf basketgrass. After being bagged and hauled out of the forest, it went straight to a county waste station to be incinerated.

Once WLBG sets seeds in August, it is easily spread by mammals walking through it. The sticky seeds adhere tightly to fur and fabric. The grass removal is most effective before seeds appear.

invasive species snipAlycia Crall, the VMN state coordinator, organized a webinar on this new invasive species which streamed live in early May 2014. Providing information about the nature of invasive species, and the recent history and properties of WLBG, master naturalists may earn an hour of continuing education credit for watching this presentation by Kevin Heffernan, Stewardship Biologist with the Virginia Natural Heritage Program and Vanessa Beauchamp, a biology professor at Towson University in Maryland. Access the webinar here.

Towson University School of Emerging Technologies has launched a citizen science project for mapping wavyleaf through a smart phone app. More about this here.

If you’d like to help with future removal efforts, contact Chris Bowlen.     – Adrie Voors


Wavyleaf growing on the SNP forest floor, June 2014.


Chris points out our park section for wavyleaf removal to Betty.

WLBG distribution

From Vanessa Beauchamp’s portion of the WLBG webinar: areas of Maryland and Virginia where WLBG has been identified. In VA, these areas interestingly follow the Appalachian Trail.