As the manager of a nature reserve in NW Westchester County, NY, I was alarmed by AN’s advocacy of hardy kiwi vine in the Nov 2015 issue.
This vine has been widely planted by permaculture gardeners. It has escaped into nature preserves and unmanaged wild areas at multiple points throughout the County. Besides our own preserve, three Audubon preserves (Bedford, Pound Ridge, & Saw Mill River) have had to spend considerable resources trying to eradicate it.
While the fruits can provide wildlife forage, the vines themselves destroy wooded habitat – including deeply shaded habitat. Once grown to 20-30 feet, they break branches and tree trunks. Where there are no tree to climb, the incredible profusion of vine growth crushes shrubs and forbs. It also seem to be resistant to herbicide treatment of the cut stumps.
Once released into the wild, this vine outgrows both Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose. We will continue to lobby NYS’ Department of Environmental Conservation to include it on the list of invasive plants that are illegal for nurseries to sell and urge you to stop promoting its use.
Thanks for your attention to this matter.
Karen Jescavage-Bernard, President
The Jane E. Lytle Memorial Arboretum