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Home& Garden The Newtown Bee’s

A SUPPLEMENT TO THE NEWTOWN BEE • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020


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The Newtown Bee - September 18, 2020

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September 18, 2020 - The Newtown Bee

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4 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 18, 2020

Home Improvements Became Priorities During Pandemic By Eliza Hallabeck The pandemic has forced many to stay at home a lot more than in previous years, and being at home can put a sharper focus on unfinished projects or improvements that have been dwelling on folks’ “get to it someday” list. For others, 2020 has been a year to reorganize or expand their space to accommodate all of life’s new homebound activities. Some local experts and even a parent recently weighed in on projects residents are completing as they come to grips with life in a COVID-19 era. Newtown resident Heather Smith responded after The Newtown Bee asked residents to share stories about changes they are making in their homes due to the pandemic. In an e-mail she said, “Our house set up was pretty different when we had three kids living with us from [New York University]! They’re all gone now after graduating virtually in my family room, but the one thing that remains is the makeshift dance studio in our basement. I walk across it every time I do laundry.” Most dancers her family knows invested in dance flooring, barres, and mirrors to train at home this year, she shared. “Many had been accepted into summer ballet intensives already. So a lot of us had dancers/instructors from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet’s School of American Ballet, and other strong programs dancing with our kids in our basements,” Smith wrote. In Smith’s home the area was “camouflaged” to hide the nearby unfinished basement space. She noted that her daughter Taegan angled a camera away from a washing machine when practicing. “Despite dogs occasionally walking

Rich Martens, owner of R.F. Martens Construction LLC of Newtown said many homebound local homeowners are pushing ahead with improvements like replacing windows, or completing projects in preparation of selling their homes. —photo courtesy Home Depot

through the frame, it went pretty well. The arts have been hit so hard in general,” Smith shared. Rick Werden, a lifelong Newtown resident, said his business, Rick Werden Painting & Remodeling of Newtown, has been “up to the eyeballs” in completing projects. He said he thinks with people home more these days they are seeing

more things they would like to fix or do around the house. While his company is always busy, Werden said this year it is “a little busier.” People are looking to complete interior and exterior painting projects, along with bathroom remodels, like tile work and changing out old vanities for new ones.

Werden said people seem to be completing the projects they may have wanted to do for a long time. He noted that trends and colors are pretty much the same as in past years, and many people are calling to complete projects before selling their homes. “Right now the real estate market is off the hook,” said Rich Martens, owner of R.F. Martens Construction LLC of Newtown. While Martens noted some homeowners are holding off projects this year, others, young and old, are pushing ahead with theirs. Due to recent storms, some people are fixing damage to homes while others are completing projects in relation to buying and selling homes. Popular projects remain the same, like renovating kitchens and replacing windows, Martens noted. Most of the contractors he knows in the area are busy with projects, Marten said. One thing he noted is appliances, like dishwashers, and some other items are harder to obtain with factories shut down due to the pandemic. It is still possible to order items, he said, but they may take longer to ship than normal. When the pandemic first reached the area, Rich Paltauf, owner of Hometown Fuel LLC of Newtown, said people started to buy more oil, probably related to pandemic concerns, lower oil prices, and the thenrecent stimulus money. With the fall approaching, Paltauf said the price for oil remains low. He advised residents should “look at your tanks, the beginning of the season is coming up, and fill your tanks up.” He also said it is a good idea to make sure the home heating system is ready to go, and it is better not to wait until the last minute to make those preparations.

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Home & Garden - 5

September 18, 2020 - The Newtown Bee

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6 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 18, 2020

Enhance Your Backyard With Water Features (StatePoint) Enhancing your backyard? Experts say that water features are an addition with big-time benefits. “Water features not only increase visual interest, but the bubbling sounds add a sense of calm to any outdoor space,” says landscape designer Doug Scott of Redeem Your Ground in Atlanta, Ga. “They also attract birds, butterflies, and more, literally bringing life into your backyard.” So, how do you select the right water feature for your yard? According to Scott, here’s what to consider: • Fountains: With a wide range of shapes, sizes, and options to complement any

space or budget, fountains are one of the most common types of water features for homeowners across the country. They’re also relatively easy to install and maintain. “Fountains create the sights and sounds my clients are looking for and they do it in a way that accommodates their potential space and budget constraints,” says Scott. • Water gardens and fishponds: Water gardens are gardens of plants that live in and around water. Best when incorporated into a natural setting, they enable homeowners to add such vibrant plants as water lettuce, water lilies, horse tail, blue iris, and sweet flag to their landscapes. Much

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bring to your family outdoors is limitless,” Scott says. • Waterfalls and streams: Waterfalls and streams create a meandering setting that helps connect one space of your yard to another. Functionally, they also help manage drainage. Due to the engineering required for successful installation, Scott highly recommends most homeowners work with a professional on such a project. This minimizes the chances of things going wrong. To learn more, check out the video “Aquatic Additions,” in which Scott discusses the various benefits, maintenance needs, and other considerations of each water feature type, at backyard.exmark.com. Installing a water feature in your yard is an effective way to add vitality and beauty to the space. However, it is important to understand the long-term maintenance requirements of your specific project.

like water gardens, fishponds are best incorporated into a natural setting, and contain many of the same plants. “The added bonus of fishponds is that you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of koi and goldfish while providing them a home,” says Scott. Scott cautions that compared to other water features, fishponds do add expense and require periodic maintenance. Beyond stocking the pond, you’ll need a pump to aerate and circulate the water, as well as vegetation to create oxygen and provide a natural food source. Additionally, you must provide adequate protection for the fish from the land and air predators that will likely pay your pond a visit. On the plus side, fishponds will attract an abundance of nonpredatory wildlife to your yard. “Although adding a pond or water garden is more involved than just buying a fountain and plugging it in, the life it’ll

Relocating? Explore the Ways To Master a Move if this is your first time buying a house, you’ll need a homeowners policy versus renters insurance. On the other hand, if you’re downsizing from a house to an apartment, you’ll still want to ensure your belongings are covered, which you can do with renters insurance. Be sure to call your utility providers to cancel or transfer service, and fill out a change of address form with the post office. You’ll also want to update your address with your bank and credit card companies. 4. Consider what’s covered: You may want to consider moving insurance. Some companies may cover you during the move and say it is not necessary to purchase an additional policy. Keep in mind that there are limits for certain kinds of misplaced, lost, or stolen personal property. Your insurance agent can walk through that with you. 5. DIY or hire a pro? While during “normal” times you might recruit family and friends to help you with the move, given the need to maintain safe distances from one another, now may not be the right time to ask. If it’s a small move, you may be able to handle it on your own or with the help of immediate family members. Otherwise, consider hiring moving professionals who know the proper safety protocols and will be better equipped to protect your possessions and make sure they’re transported safely. While moving can seem overwhelming, a bit of prep and planning go a long way. By mastering your move, you’ll be sitting down and relaxing in your new home in no time.

(StatePoint) While real estate agents report that far fewer people than normal have been moving during the COVID-19 pandemic, that may soon change. A recent Harris Poll found that nearly a third of US adults living in urban areas are considering a move to less densely populated cities in the wake of the pandemic. Others may not be fleeing the pandemic but simply want or need to move, either for a job change or other reason. If you find yourself preparing to move during these uncertain times, here are some tips to help it go more smoothly. 1. Make a checklist: Set a timeline for completing such tasks as packing, cleaning, and registering the kids for school. Staying ahead of the process can help avoid last-minute headaches and make your to-do list seem more manageable. There are even free apps available to help. 2. Organize and purge: Moving is the perfect opportunity to decide what you really want and need in your new home. To lessen the load on moving day, hold a garage sale — following proper distancing guidelines — or donate unwanted items to charity. You can make the unpacking process simpler by arranging similar items together and labeling each box accordingly, such as kitchen utensils with cups or clothing of a particular season. You can even label a box as “open me first” for items you’ll need immediately. 3. Notify those who need to know: Let your insurance agent know that you’re moving as soon as possible to be sure you’re covered. You’ll also want to discuss how your needs will change. For example,

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September 18, 2020 - The Newtown Bee

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The Newtown Bee - September 18, 2020

From classic to contemporary, Mark Svanda Painting, LLC has been protecting homeowners’ most valued investments, and making old look new again for 30 years.

Among the many classic homes that have been beautified by Mark Svanda Painting, LLC are several residences lining Newtown’s Main Street corridor.

Celebrating 30 Years—

Local Painter Mark Svanda Just Keeps Rolling...And Brushing!

By John Voket Over the 30 years since Newtown resident Mark Svanda formally established the company that bears his name, it has grown into a highly trusted brand for those needing all aspects of painting and home improvement. So how does this type of enterprise not only maintain its presence among competitors, but also continue to burnish its reputation among a still growing network of satisfied customers — many of whom invite the company back for new projects, or to freshen previous coats of paint applied by Svanda and his crew? “At Mark Svanda Painting, LLC we put a premium on communication, asking the right questions, listening, adapting, and always trying to exceed expectations,” Svanda explained recently during a quick break from a very busy painting and home improvement season. On the occasion of his company’s 30-year anniversary, Svanda still credits both his success and longevity to those who keep on calling him to make their properties shine colorfully inside and out. “I really have to extend a special thank the Newtown community for their support — as well as my employees, subcontractors, and vendors over the years,” he said. “My success and longevity are the result of a total team effort.” When it comes to advancements that have helped Svanda consistently go head-

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to-head with other painting companies and franchise operations, it is not so much his basic tools and materials that have changed, but the way he runs the back office — the business end of his painting and home improvement company. “It goes without saying, September 1990 was a much slower time,” Svanda said, recalling how he would leave for work — no cell phone, yet — and return, tired and paint spattered at the end of each day, to check for calls on his answering machine, producing estimates for customers using an electric typewriter. “Fast forward 30 years, and the big difference is I run my business solely through my iPhone and iPad Pro,” he said. For Svanda, mobile technology helps him work faster and allows him to conduct business from anywhere.

Newtown resident and skilled painting and restoration specialist Mark Svanda is celebrating 30 years in business in 2020, and is available for quotes and estimates on a wide range of exterior and interior residential and commercial projects.

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Changes In Materials In three decades, Svanda has seen some important developments in the primers and paints that are the lifeblood of his business. “Latex paints and stains have been replaced by 100 percent acrylic finishes,” he said. “Those 100 percent acrylic finishes are known for color retention and durability.” At the same time, many of the old oilbased products have been replaced by hybrids. “Hybrids are waterborne primers and

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Home & Garden - 9

September 18, 2020 - The Newtown Bee

paints that are made to behave like an oil,” Svanda explained. ‘That changeover started in the ’90s.” Since then, Svanda has seen national volatile organic compound emission standards or “VOC laws” become stricter. “Rules and regulations are changing practically monthly,” he said. According to the SSPC (Society for Protective Coatings), a volatile organic compound (VOC) is any chemical that becomes a gas at room temperature and has the potential to react with the surrounding atmosphere. VOCs are dangerous to air quality because when they react with nitrogen oxide under UV radiation, ground-level ozone is formed. Svanda said he relies mostly on materials that bear household names when it comes to paints, primers, and stains. “We use Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams products,” he said. Trim And Siding Options Not only have technology and the formulation of his paints changed over the years, Svanda has also seen changes to the materials upon which he paints. “Over the last three decades, siding and trim material options have changed,” he said. “Although woods like cedar and pine are still options for trim, I recommend using a composite material that will not rot.” Azek and Versatex are a couple of the composite products Svanda and his team use for trim replacement. “Composite trim is caulked, puttied, and painted. And I find that painted composite trim looks exactly like painted wood trim,” Svanda said. As far as siding goes, Svanda says there are newer options like cement board, but he still prefers cedar as long as it is prepped, primed, and painted or stained correctly. “In fact,” he reported, “I’d say now that 90 percent of the houses I work on have cedar siding.”

Mark Svanda Painting, LLC was entrusted with the job of providing a much-needed facelift to the South Britain Congregational Church in Southbury.

Old Buildings, New Life One of the more challenging issues Svanda faces in a region with a heavy mix of older housing stock is the removal of lead-based paint, which has not been in use since 1978. “At Mark Svanda Painting, LLC, we take pride in restoring not only old homes, but landmarks like churches and commercial buildings,” he said. The latest federal EPA laws do not allow for disturbing or sanding lead-based paint without encapsulating the workspace.

While his company is known for painting projects, Svanda and his team also bring home improvement talents to the table, as evidenced in this flooring restoration recently completed for one satisfied client.

“That means sanding and working with lead-based paint can be costly when done right,” he said. Mark Svanda Painting, LLC is an EPA-certified “Lead Safe” firm. To see some of his painting and restoration work, the curious need look no further than some of the classic homes along Main Street in Newtown. “Main Street is lined with houses I’ve restored,” he said. To see one of his more recent ambitious projects, prospective customers can take a ride down Route 172 in

Southbury, where Svanda’s team has beautifully restored and repainted the South Britain Congregational Church. Anyone needing painting or restoration services, including refreshing older or historic homes, can visit marksvanda.com to see all he and his team have to offer — and to set up a free consultation and estimate. Meanwhile, Svanda will be busy making the world more beautiful, one brushstroke at a time, and looking forward to the next 30 years.

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10 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 18, 2020

These Home Exterior Projects Combine Beauty, Performance (StatePoint) Will you be completing outdoor home renovation projects this season? To maximize your investment, consider these project ideas, which combine beauty and long-lasting performance: Landscaping is a fundamental aspect of curb appeal. A beautiful design has the power to boost your home’s resale value. What’s more, certain landscape choices may last longer and can even potentially protect the structure of your home. Make the smart and environmentally conscious choice of sticking with native species, which are more likely to thrive and grow a strong root foundation, helping protect your property in the event of flooding. Select fire-resistant plants that can also act as buffers during high winds. You don’t have to wait for leaks to appear before you consider a new roof. Missing, damaged or curling shingles are not only an eyesore, they can also be signs of leaks to come. The age of your roof itself can be a guide as to when it’s time to consider an upgrade — homeowners insurance companies generally assume an asphalt shingle roof will last about 20 years. When it comes to beauty and performance, a new roof can be one of the best investments you make for your home if

you select durable products that will protect your family for years to come. Homeowners should know that they don’t have to sacrifice style for strength and durability. For example, new Timberline HDZ

shingles from GAF, North America’s largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer, combine the style of America’s bestselling shingles (Timberline HD) with even better protection thanks to a new

innovation called LayerLock technology. The technology offers contractors a faster, more precise installation and ultimately, better strength and performance of the roofing shingles. For greater peace of mind, homeowners should also consider complete roofing systems (shingles and accessories) with a strong warranty. Just be sure to check the fine print, especially if you live in an area with high winds. While many roofing products do come with wind warranties, there are often caveats with regard to wind speed limitations. Today’s high-performance window options can dramatically improve your home’s energy efficiency, provide better sound-proofing and weather resistance, and offer tilt-in capabilities for easier cleaning and maintenance. Some manufacturers offer customization options with regards to grille patterns, window shape, interior and exterior frame colors, and glass types, making it easy to find options that complement your home’s style while providing performance features you value. This season, make smart home upgrades that offer you both greater curb appeal and greater peace of mind.

Reduce Personal Plastic Use, Even During a Pandemic (StatePoint) If your effort to reduce your personal plastic use has fallen by the wayside in recent months, you’re not alone — reusable bags and containers had a rough spot early in the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a new report shows that they can be a safe, effective way to tackle the global plastic pollution crisis.

The new report from Greenpeace USA, “Reusables Are Doable,” available at greenpeace.org/usa/reports/reusables-aredoable, highlights various reusable programs globally that have continued or can be used during the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring strong sanitization or contactless systems for cups and containers.

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The report seeks to assure retailers, restaurants, and other large brands that a pandemic doesn’t need to mean shifting toward widespread disposable plastic. Indeed, 130 health experts have weighed in to reinforce the public health necessity of moving away from single-use plastic to detail how reusables can be used safely during a pandemic. “At a time when communities of color are disproportionately impacted by both the plastic pollution crisis and COVID19, reusable systems are not only possible right now, they are needed more than ever,” said Greenpeace USA plastics campaigner, David Pinsky. “Reusable systems can protect workers, customers, and our environment by meeting basic hygiene and distancing requirements, and can help get people back to work.” According to the report, here are just a few of the reusable systems and companies that can instill confidence during the pandemic: • Contactless coffee systems have been embraced by hundreds of cafes worldwide to minimize waste. With this system, a customer places their reusable cup on the counter, backs away, and allows the barista to fill it with a separate cup that doesn’t touch the customer’s. • Loop, which launched in 2019, offers

well-known grocery brands to customers in reusable containers. The company collects used containers, sanitizes them according to FDA standards, and uses them for future products. Loop has reported a sales increase during the pandemic. • The Wally Shop, which recently expanded nationally, and Zero, also offer grocery delivery with reusable containers. • To-go reusable models such as CupClub enable customers to borrow a reusable cup, use it, then return it at a dropoff point to be cleaned. • Takeout meal systems such as Dispatch Goods partner with local restaurants to provide meals in reusable containers that customers return for commercial cleaning. • Algramo, based in Chile, uses vending machines and an electric vehicle delivery service that allows people to pay for only the amount of product they need in reusable containers. “It is time for restaurants, retailers, and all food businesses to end their reliance on useless plastic packaging, bags and containers,” says Pinsky. “Individuals who want to see continued action on the plastic pollution crisis can get involved by encouraging their favorite businesses to continue to prioritize reuse in ways that maintain proper hygiene and safety.”

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Home & Garden - 11

September 18, 2020 - The Newtown Bee

This Fall, Make Your Yard A Safe Haven For Beautiful Birds

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Newtown Resident David B. Osborne Owner (StatePoint) Without a few measures in place, your home and garden could be hazardous to birds. Here are some great ways to create a safe haven for beautiful flying visitors. • Garden organically: Conventional pesticides can be toxic to birds, so ditch the dangerous chemicals. Did you know that there are essential oils that you can use instead that will do the job of warding off pests without harming birds — or people, for that matter? Protecting birds is more than the right thing to do: Their health and safety helps ensure their ability to feed on the very pests you’re trying to eliminate. • Make windows visible: Your beautiful view can be a safety hazard to birds. Each year, millions of wild birds in the US alone meet an untimely end after flying into clear glass windows. Fortunately, there’s an easy action you can take to prevent this from happening: Apply decals that reflect ultraviolet sunlight to

your home’s windows, particularly those windows that are highly reflective of open sky. Doing so has been proven to substantially reduce the likelihood of bird strikes. Some feature patterns that give the appearance of slightly frosted translucent glass, but glow like a stoplight for birds. • Introduce bird feeders, mindfully: Bird feeders attract birds to your yard and give them a place to rest and refuel. However, it’s important not to unintentionally create a safety hazard with this addition. Because feeding birds are easily frightened and apt to take wild, evasive flight, the risk of birds striking windows can be elevated near bird feeders. By using window decals, as well as by positioning feeders closer than three feet or farther than 30 feet from windows, you can create a safer space. Already have bird feeders? Take a look at their current placement and make changes as needed.

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12 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 18, 2020

Check Your Ponds And Gardens—

Three Invasive Plants Spotted On The Rise In Newtown

The unusual-looking fruits of the European water chestnut are called caltrops, as seen here. —photo courtesy Tom Philbrick

Newtown resident Tom Philbrick holds one of the many European water chestnuts that can be found in the pond at Ram’s Pasture in August 2020. The invasive plant’s leaves float on the surface of the water while its stems and roots live below. —photo courtesy Tom Philbrick

By Alissa Silber Anyone with a green thumb knows it takes a lot of time and care to cultivate the garden of your dream. The maintenance involved is never-ending, but gardeners know the fruits of their labor make it all worthwhile — and sometimes result in actual fruits! Unfortunately, even the most aesthetically pleasing plants can be invasives, and harmful to even the most hardy native species. Invasives are plant species that are not native to North America, but which take root easily and can quickly grow to dominate a habitat. Three invasive plants that have been found in Newtown this summer can present a challenge to even experienced gardeners, so check out some tips about these unwanted species and what you can do to remove them properly. European Water Chestnut Much like an iceberg, the European water chestnut only shows a glimpse of its reach above the water, with its full might concealed below the surface. Afloat are rosettes of triangular-shaped leaves, with the

A thick patch of porcelain berry vine overtakes a tree in the backyard of a Newtown residence in August. —Bee Photo, Crevier

plant’s stems and roots living under the water. The plant bears unusual-looking fruits called caltrops that can be collected, treated, and eaten; and it also has small, fourpetal flowers that begin blooming in July. The aquatic plant’s formal name is Trapa natans, and it is different than the water chestnut people are familiar with in Asian meals. The European water chestnut can invade “shallow to deep freshwater habitats in the northeastern United States,” according to the Invasive Plant Atlas’s plant index.

Newtown resident Tom Philbrick first noticed the European water chestnut in the pond at Ram’s Pasture in July when he was traveling on Elm Drive. As a professor of biology at Western Connecticut State University, he recognized “it was growing so dense that the leaves were being ‘pushed’ above the water. Most water lilies don’t do that.” Philbrick described the plant as being a very aggressive invasive species, native to Eurasia, that can grow to cover most of the water surface, as it is doing at Ram’s Pasture. The consequence of letting it continue to grow, Philbrick explained, is that “it will likely completely cover the pond by the end of the growing season. What such dense growth does is shade out anything in the water below it, e.g., other perhaps native aquatic plants.” There are two options, he says, for preventing it from thriving: pull it out or treat it with herbicides. “The former takes more work, but the latter may result in other unintended consequences in the pond,” Philbrick said. “For instance, when plants are killed by herbicides, the nutrients they contain are released into the water. Higher nutrients generally lead to algal blooms, which are ecologically detrimental of themselves.”

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In August, the European water chestnut made up most of the green plants visible on the surface of the pond at Ram’s Pasture. If the European water chestnut is not removed soon, it may not be the last time it is seen in Newtown. “The plant is an annual and comes back each year from fruits that can be picked up by waterfowl, float to other areas, or sink to the bottom and germinate the next year,” Philbrick said. People should check the ponds on their properties, especially those in open, sunny areas, to ensure the European water chestnut is not growing there. Porcelain Berry Vine The ampelopsis brevipedunculata, more commonly known as porcelain berry or porcelain vine, is an aggressive weed that can be found throughout the eastern United States. Upon first glance it resembles native grapes; however, this invasive plant invades undisturbed areas of property and wraps itself on shrubs and trees along forest edges. It can reach heights of more than 20 feet and tangle itself on overhead wires. According to the North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox, “The thick mats formed by this climbing vine can cover and shade out native shrubs and young trees. It spreads very quickly since birds and mammals eat the fruit and disperse the seeds.” The plant is native to Japan and northern China, and was first brought into the United States in 1870. Philbrick notes that it was originally introduced as an ornamental plant. The porcelain berry vine, he explained, “is introduced intentionally into horticulture and is still sold in the horticultural trade. In fact, many of the plants that are highly invasive in Connecticut can still be bought from horticultural trade, e.g., purple loosestrife, Japanese barberry.” People commonly use the plant as a decorative climbing vine along fences, walls, and trellises, whether or not they know it is invasive when they propagate it. iNaturalist, a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, says once the porcelain berry vine is established in an area it can be difficult to control, because of its vigorous root system. The site’s advice is to, “Pull young vines up by hand anytime and try to remove the rootstock. Apply systemic herbicides like glyphosate and triclopyr to cut stems or leaves to kill entire plants, including the roots.”

A close up of the invasive porcelain berry vine at a property in Newtown shows clusters of berries that will turn blue in the fall. —Bee Photo, Crevier

Mile-A-Minute Vine Newtown resident and Protect Our Pollinators Chairman Mary Gaudet-Wilson was surprised and concerned to find mile-a-minute vines on her property in July. On two separate occasions she spotted a single stem of it growing in her backyard. The weed, called polygonum perfoliatum, is a fastgrowing invasive species that produces vines over herbaceous and woody plants, as well as trees. “Mile-a-minute is a vine, light green in color, with triangular leaves, each side being equal to the other,” Gaudet-Wilson explained. “The leaves have no lobes or indentations. There are saucer shaped leaves called ocrea at the nodes (where the leaf stem meets the main stem). There are small barbs along the stem and berries at this time of year which ripen into a blue color.” Birds like the mile-a-minute berries, which helps the plant spread to different areas. Gaudet-Wilson believes this is how it likely came to her yard, as she lives less than a mile away from a heavily infected area. Mile-a-minute was likely introduced to the area via ornamental plants, Philbrick says, possibly unintentionally through seed stock. Today, Gaudet-Wilson said, “This plant is on the Connecticut List of Invasive Plants because of its ability to grow fast (up to 6 inches per day) and its ability to spread over other vegetation and trees. It can easily overgrow native species, causing ecological and economic harm.” Removing the mile-a-minute stems from her yard was quick because she caught it early and was able to pull it out entirely.

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She advises people wear gloves and pull the vine out before its berries ripen. Removing it before the berries ripen is crucial, because mile-a-minute is an annual and any seeds dropping to the soil will help produce next year’s crop. “For disposal of pulled material, putting it in plastic bags and taking it for incineration is the best. If plants are pulled early in the year, before development of fruit, they may be left in a pile to decompose,” Gaudet-Wilson said. Although it is not a plant commonly found in yards, Gaudet-Wilson says the vine can pop up unexpectedly and should be taken seriously. “In fact, it should be reported to the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) at 860-486-6448 or to hort.uconn.edu/mam (click Report MAM),” she advised.

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