Terrific Weeds at the Brinckerhoff House Historic Site

Patch of Weeds 9

A couple of months ago, this large patch of weeds used to look like a few pine trees and a berry bush.  There were still some weeds around the pine trees, but in such a short amount of time, they grew into large, thick, competitive vines.  In the photograph above, the pine trees they cover are barely noticeable.

My director and I spoke about the grounds of the Brinkerhoff House Historic Site in East Fishkill, and we both agreed that this patch of weeds had been left to grow rampant for too long.  The pine trees that the vines were growing on and around were almost completely dead, and it was an ugly addition to the East Fishkill Historical Society’s beautiful property, so I decided to clear out this mess.

Patch of Weeds 5

A couple of days ago, I started to try and figure out what exactly in this patch of messy vegetation was salvable, and was not invasive weeds.  I was very excited to clear a small section, but something clicked when my old college buddy came over for a visit.

When my friend, Anthony Mancini, came to the Brinckerhoff House Historic Site, I gave him a tour of the Brinckerhoff House, the 1885 Carriage Barn, and the 1820 One-Room Schoolhouse.  He was pretty impressed, and mentioned that he has been recently been playing a large part in his community in Putnam County.  As a journalist, he writes articles about local history and current events.  He was always an inquisitive person.  When we started to walk back to the Brinkerhoff House, I pointed out the yard work I was in the process of finishing.  When he saw the large patch of weeds that I was working on clearing, he immediately smirked and said “Ah, you have a bad case of Oriental Bittersweet, huh?”

Patch of Weeds 7

He told me that he already wrote six different articles of the Oriental Bittersweet – how this year they are growing more rampant then ever before, and that their presence is really effecting the vegetation in the Hudson Valley.  When he left the site, I Googled “Oriental Bittersweet,” and he was right.

Everything I read about this weed made it clear that the whole entire patch of “weeds” was actually just a patch of one huge weed, the Oriental Bittersweet.  Even more surprising, was the berry bush which I thought was good looking and planted on purpose, was actually an Oriental Bittersweet itself.

Over the next several days, I have been working on clearing all the vines from the trees, and removing that “berry bush,” but here are some picture of the process.

An attacked pine tree:

Patch of Weeds 1

Half-way rescued:

Patch of Weeds 3

Its sad reality.  Now it can breathe. Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree:

Patch of Weeds 2

Cleaning up:

Patch of Weeds 4

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