News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Valley Life

November 17, 2013

YOUR GREEN VALLEY: Nothing healthy about seeing green in mid-to-late November

Fall is in full force, the skies are gray and trees have shaken their leaves to the forest floor. The outskirts of dormant wooded areas are lined with a thick brush of green. While green may signify a healthy forest, there is nothing healthy about seeing bright green in mid-to-late November. What you are witnessing as you drive by is an invasive species called Asian Bush Honeysuckle.

Terre Haute resident Jane Morse remembers ABH in her parent’s garden growing up. She says it was her father’s favorite bush. As an adult when it came time for her to find a home, she was drawn to one with a yard full of the plant. It took her 20 years to find out just how bad the bush was when it encroached her property, invading landscaped areas.

Asian Bush Honeysuckle is not our only concern says Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society Co-Founder Ruth Ann Ingraham. Invasive species are a major problem in Indiana causing significant economic and environmental damage. The future threat of several known (but, so far, absent) invasive species is even greater — with the potential to cause billions of dollars of damage to Indiana’s economy. Other examples are the kudzu bug impact on soybean yields, Asian longhorn beetle’s impact on timber and thousand cankers disease’s impact on walnut veneer.

“If you don’t control invasive species, you can end up with a mono-culture. A mono-culture will eliminate diversity. If you don’t have diversity you are not going to have the morel mushrooms in the spring. You will not have the wildlife to hunt because their food source from a diverse culture will no longer exist,” Ingraham said.

Action through education

Ingraham is motivated to continue pushing the promotion of native plants for the fear of losing the richness and diversity in our forests. She encourages other communities to try some of the methods she has used to continue spreading the word. She writes about invasive and native plants on She helps to organize Nature Days in Brown County, an event that brings together people to learn more about the environment. One of the most personalized services she offers is a free landowner survey.  

“When on a homeowner’s property, not only do we look for the bad things but also we look for the good. I help the homeowner identify plants that should be protected by not letting them be consumed by an invasion of invasive species. I conduct written reports to remind landowners of what we saw and how to prioritize the control of those species. I also list all of the great things that we find, so that they feel good about themselves and good about the land they own,” Ingraham said.

To learn more about invasive species in Terre Haute, attend a work day at Dobbs Park. TREES Inc., in partnership with the park’s Nature Center and Sycamore Trails, conduct these days in which residents are taught how to get control of and fight the invasive plants. Volunteers are taught how to use different tools and are able to test tools that work to the best of their ability.

“Each bush, depending on its size and how it is rooted and what kind of soil, there is a different tactic for removing [it]. It helps people a lot to come out to Dobbs Park during a ABH pull and get educated with us and then they will better be able to make decisions on how to take ABH out of their own property,” Morse said.

In late October, the Indiana Invasive Species Council conducted an Early Detection and Rapid Response Workshop at Purdue University. More than 60 invasive species experts and interested citizens attended. Great discussion led to the unanimous decision that Indiana needs to have a central database for folks to report where they spot an invasive. Once an invasive is reported, an expert would travel to the site to confirm the area had been invaded. By mapping out areas, it allows citizens and officials to work together to prevent the invasive from spreading further.

It all starts with education, and a great place to start is at

Jane Santucci is an environmental freelance writer for the Tribune-Star. Santucci is a proud volunteer with TREES Inc. and Our Green Valley. She also sits on the Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries Board of Directors. Share your environmental stories and tips with her at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Valley Life
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Pope's Relic on Wheels Departs to Rome New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast Today in History for April 16th At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish
NDN Video
Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010