Say it fast enough and Fatoua villosa, sounds like you are casting a spell right out of Harry Potter. If Fatoua villosa, was actually a spell, it would not be a good one. More commonly known as mulberry weed or hairy crabweed, this is an invasive plant. Not only is it invasive, but it’s also new to the area. In fact, on the USDA’s website, it is not even listed as appearing in Maryland yet! We have reported this sighting to the USDA.
So what are we doing about it? At Historic London Town and Gardens where it was identified by their Director of Horticulture, Nate Powers we are taking action. We knew we had a problem and knew we had the perfect team for the job. Staff members from AARP came out on the gorgeous summer morning ready to volunteer as part of the 9/11 remembrance day of service. The team worked hard clearing out as much Fatoua villosa from two areas as possible. Removing the entire plant is important because the seeds spread easily and quickly. As the AARP team removed as much as they could, buckets of this noxious weed were taken right to the dumpster. Composting an invasive like this is just too risky.
After finishing up their first task, the team headed over to a bio-retention area in dire need of weeding. A short time later, the weeds were gone and the garden looked great again! While pulling weeds, we came across an adorable baby box turtle. Keeping natural areas free of invasives does more than just make the area look pretty, it allows more room for native plants to grow and create habitat for native fauna like the box turtle. A big thank you goes out to AARP for all of your hard work!