Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Oriental Bittersweet: The Cost of Neglect

As mentioned in the 5/23/13 Glastonbury Citizen article, it pays to tackle any oriental bittersweet growth as early and quickly as possible. Once the root system is established and spreads out the battle becomes much more demanding and drawn out. Whether you select a chemical or mechanical approach or a combination, the same rule applies: the sooner you deal with it the more work and cost you'll save yourself in the long run.

How much work and cost?

One GPIP member has been addressing a serious infestation on land purchased several years ago. The prior owner did not understand they had a problem and just thought the property was "overgrown."

Our GPIP member has worked on the problem every year since the purchase. When the subject of "the cost of neglect" came up our bittersweet battler went to his truck (specifically bought for hauling bittersweet vine debris and trees killed by the vines to the town landfill) and added up the landfill receipts for just April thru mid-June this year:
  • Professional tree service (take down large dead tree): $439.01;
  • (18) round-trips to the town landfill totaling over 300 miles;
  • Over $500.00 for permit fee and load charges;
  • Over 14,500 pounds of debris (that's over 7 tons).
There's a small slice of the cost of neglect. The work will continue thru 2013 and probably well into 2014 before things can finally shift from "consequences of neglect" to "normal maintenance" mode.

Inspecting a property regularly and dealing with small, new infestations is within almost anyone's physical capability and budget. But the picture changes dramatically after years or decades of neglect. This is the battle we all share as a community, beginning in our own yards.