TO: Brian Farley

FROM: Mark Taylor

RE: Exotics update

DATE: 10/19/99

My sister sent me a couple of articles from the Washington Post about dogwood anthracnose. You might want to take a look. Here are the references:

  • "Deadly Fungus Attacks Symbol of Springtime; Area’s Dogwoods are Falling to Disease that Got Its Start in Northeast." May 10, 1999.
  • "Bioinvaders on the March." May 26, 1999.

I don’t think any of the dogwoods in the park are infected, but I recommend that the park staff do a survey. I suspect that we are going to get a lot of calls about this so how about including a program on this topic, geared towards homeowners, in our spring workshop series? I could pull it together if you want!

Also wanted to let you know that I spoke with the landscapers at those new condos going up near the south edge of the park. You were right – they are planning to plant manhattan euonymous, crimson pygmy barberry, nandina, and Russian olive. All exotics, but only the Russian olive is thought to be a threat – at least now anyways! The landscapers said they could buy these plants for $1 each down in Mintville where all the nurseries are. When I suggested planting with natives, they scoffed and said native shrubs are going for $15-$20 a plant. Doesn’t it matter to these folks that the plantings at every commercial property in this city look exactly the same? Monotonous, predictable landscapes – is that what the general public wants? All green plants look the same to them! What do you recommend that I do now?

BTW: Speaking of money, I was searching on the ‘net recently and saw that 3 million acres/year are lost to invasive plants and that the federally estimated costs caused by invasive species in the U.S. are nearly $123 billion per year ( This includes the costs incurred in natural ecosystems as well as those related to agriculture. Who’ll pick up this tab?