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Lake George Association: Watch out for yellow iris

June 2, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

LAKE GEORGE - The Lake George Association asks the public to be on the lookout for yellow iris, a highly invasive species currently in bloom.

Though pretty, yellow iris is known as a "botanical bully" because it is poisonous and spreads aggressively. Roots can connect hundreds of these plants, choking native wetland plants, restricting water flow and degrading habitat for fish, plants and other animals. Its seeds spread long distances along the edges of ponds, rivers, streams and lakes.

It is not simply a yellow version of native blue flag iris.

While it is widely sold legally in New York, Vermont recently passed a law banning its sale. A bill recently passed in the New York Assembly would help the state Department of Environmental Conservation fight invaders like yellow iris.

"We are anxiously awaiting the passage of the bill in the New York State Senate, where it is currently on the floor calendar," LGA Executive Director Walt Lender said.

"If you find yellow iris on your property, please remove it," said Emily DeBolt, LGA director of education. "Please contact the LGA at 518-668-3558 if you see this plant on other property on Lake George or its tributaries. If you see it elsewhere in the Adirondack Park, contact the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, at 518-576-2082."

To remove the plant, follow these steps:

-Wear gloves, as the plant's resins can irritate the skin.

-Clip flower heads prior to seed development.

-Pull and dig out plants, being careful to completely remove all of the roots. Any roots remaining in the ground can grow new plants.

-Cut plants standing in water below the waterline.

-Place all plant pieces in plastic bags, and take the bags to a sanitary landfill site. Do not compost.



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