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Archive | Invasive Pest Week

Gardening Supervisor, Amanda Sabo

A sit down with our Gardening Supervisor, Amanda Sabo.


With all ecosystems, there are multiple variables and moving parts that work together in making a sustainable and successful environment. For our little environment at Snow Creek Landscaping, Amanda Sabo is a key player in making sure the gardening department of Snow Creek is running at it’s fullest potential.

On Thursday, September 22nd, Amanda joined several other professionals for the 6th annual Integrated Pest Management Symposium. Produced and hosted by the North Carolina Arboretum in conjunction with The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, the day was filled with speakers and discussions around the topic of pest management. As a panel member on the topic, IPM Practices in the Nursery and Landscape, she was able to bring to the table her perspective and knowledge of pest management from the viewpoint of a local landscaping company Asheville, NC.Gardening Supervisor at Snow Creek Landscaping, Amanda Sabo

In preparation for her participation, we sat down to learn a little bit more about Amanda and what led up to her position at Snow Creek as Gardening Supervisor.

Originally from Athens, Illinois, she grew up around both vegetable and flower gardens with her family. This influence at an early age is what seemingly projected her education path towards more of an environmental focus. While studying at at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Amanda deciding to focus on a degree in plant and soil science, with an emphasis on horticulture, specifically green houses. This path is what helped push her towards discovering every aspect of nursery life.

After a working briefly at nurseries in both North and South Carolina, she found herself progressing through the ranks at Snow Creek Landscaping. Here she can be found both in the office and out in the field, working with a team of gardeners and helping build our client relationship. Her knowledge and inviting presence allows her to really push Snow Creek to a high standard.dsc_7666

When asked what keeps the job interesting – she says that unpredictable nature of the job is what keeps her looking forward to each day, season and year. Being comfortable outside, through all different types of weather, is what helps a person last in this industry. For her, being outside is part of the job and makes the desk work easier. Being able to work with new species of plants adds an additional excitement to the job!

We hope that many of you will get the chance to connect with Amanda as you work with our team in making your landscaping needs a reality. Not sure about what you can do with your property? Fill out a contact sheet or give us a call to set up an appointment with one of our sales team members.

Team Snow Creek.

Invasive Species of the Day: Periwinkle

While this is the last day of Invasive Species Awareness Week, every day of the year could be devoted to featuring an Invasive species. These plants wreak havoc on the ecosystems they’ve been introduced into and cause everyone from homeowners to national parks alike many problems.

Plant. Evergreen to semi-evergreen vines, somewhat woody, trailing or scrambling to 3 feet (1 m) long and upright to 1 foot (30 cm). Violet pinwheel-shaped flowers.

Stem. Slender (common periwinkle) to stout (bigleaf periwinkle), succulent becoming somewhat woody (tough to break) with flowering branches erect and jointed at axils. Hairless and smooth. Dark green at base to light green upward with a reddish tinge.

Leaves. Opposite. Glossy and hairless, somewhat thick, with margins slightly rolled under. Common periwinkle narrow elliptic, 0.8 to 1.8 inches (2 to 4.5 cm) long and 0.4 to 1 inch (1 to 2.5 cm) wide, with petioles 0.1 inch (1 to 3 mm) long. Bigleaf periwinkle heart-shaped to somewhat triangular to elliptic, 1.5 to 2.5 inches (4 to 6 cm) long and 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4 cm) wide, with petioles 0.2 to 0.4 inch (5 to 10 mm) long. Blades dark green with whitish lateral and midveins above and lighter green with whitish midveins beneath. Some varieties variegated.

Flowers. April to May (sporadically May to September). Axillary, usually solitary. Violet to blue lavender (to white), with five petals radiating pinwheel-like at right angles from the floral tube. Common periwinkle 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide with a 0.3- to 0.5-inch (8- to 12-mm) long tube. Bigleaf periwinkle 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) wide with a 0.6- to 0.8-inch (1.5- to 2-cm) long tube. Five sepals long lanceolate, about 0.4 inch (1 cm), hairy margined.

Fruit and seeds. May to July. Slender, cylindrical fruit to 2 inches (5 cm) long. Becoming dry and splitting to release three to five seeds.

Ecology. Found around old homesite plantings and scattered in open to dense canopied forests. Form mats and extensive infestations even under forest canopies by vines rooting at nodes, with viability of seeds yet to be reported.

Resemble partridgeberry, Mitchella repens L., which has cordate leaves, white twin flowers, and red berries. Also, may resemble yellow jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens (L.) St. Hil., which has wider spaced leaves and reddish stems, often white waxy.

History and use. Introduced from Europe in 1700s. Ornamental ground cover, commonly sold and planted by gardeners.



Photos: Jil Swearingen, USDI National Park Service,


Invasive Species of the Day: Multiflora Rose

Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) once started in an area, is very difficult to eradicate. In addition to be covered with thorns that can cause painful swelling if you are a poked by them, multifloras produce many seeds which are spread by wildlife.









Plant: Erect climbing, arching, or trailing shrubs to 10 feet (3 m) in height or length. Clump forming. Pinnately compound leaves, frequent recurved and straight thorns, clustered or single white flowers in early summer, and red rose hips in fall to winter.

Stem. Long arching or climbing by clinging using recurved or straight thorns. Green with leaf and branch scars linear and spaced like nodes. Flower buds often red in winter. Bark dark brown with streaks of light brown or green.

Leaves. Alternate, odd-pinnately compound with three to nine elliptic to lanceolate leaflets, each 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 8 cm) long. Margins finely and sharply serrate. Leafstalk bases clasping, channeled, and often bristled on margins with toothed hairs.

Flowers. April to June. Terminal or axillary branched clusters or single flowers. Five white petals. Many yellow anthers in center.








Fruit and seeds. July to December. Rose hip, spherical, and fleshy, 0.25 to 0.4 inch (0.6 to 1 cm). Green to yellow and ripening to glossy red.

Ecology. Form small-to-large infestations often climbing up into trees. Multiflora widely planted and often spreading along right-of-ways and invading new forests and forest margins. Colonize by prolific sprouting and stems that root, and spread by animal-dispersed seeds.

Resemble native Carolina rose, R. carolina L., swamp rose, R. palustris Marsh., and climbing rose, R. setigera Michx., all of which have pink flowers in spring and nonbristled leafstalk bases, but none forming extensive infestations except swamp rose in wet habitat.

History and use. Introduced from Asia. Traditionally planted as ornamentals, livestock containment, and wildlife habitat. Multiflora widely planted for “living fences” or screening.



Photo credits: James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, and

Nancy Dagley, USDI National Park Service,

Invasive Species of the Day: Chinese Silvergrass


Chinese silvergrass  (Miscanthus sinensis) is native to Asia and was introduced into the United States for ornamental purposes during the late 1800s. It is a tall, densely-bunched grass that invades roadsides, forest edges, old fields, and other disturbed areas throughout the United States.  Chinese silvergrass escapes from ornamental plantings and can form large clumps along disturbed areas, displacing native vegetation. The grass is also extremely flammable and increases fire risks of invaded areas.

Plant. Tall, densely bunched, perennial grass, 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3 m) in height. Long-slender upright-to-arching leaves with whitish upper midveins. Many loosely plumed panicles in late summer turning silvery to pinkish in fall. Dried grass standing with some seed heads during winter, but seed viability spotty.

Stem. Upright-to-arching, originating in tufts from base and unbranched. Covered with overlapping leaf sheaths until stem appears with flower plume in late summer.

Leaves. Alternate, long linear, upright-to-arching (persisting and curly tipped when dried) to 40 inches (1 m) long and less than 0.8 inch (2 cm) wide. Blades green to variegated (light green striped) with whitish collars. Midvein white above and green ridged beneath. Tufted hairs at throat, sheath margins, and ligule, but otherwise hairless. Margins rough.

Flowers. August to November. Much branched and drooping terminal plumed panicles, 4 to 15 inches (10 to 38 cm) long and 2 to 8 inches (5 to 20 cm) wide. Silvery to pinkish, showiest in fall. Stalk appressed rough hairy.

Seeds. September to January. Grain hidden, husks membranous, yellowish brown to slightly reddish, sparsely hairy, with twisted tip.

Ecology. Forms extensive infestations by escaping from older ornamental plantings to roadsides, forest margins, and adjacent disturbed sites, especially after burning. Shade tolerant. Highly flammable and a fire hazard.

History and use. Introduced from eastern Asia. Still widely sold and increasingly planted as an ornamental. Several varieties imported and sold. New cultivars assumed to be mostly sterile.




Invasive Species of the Day: English Ivy

English Ivy (Hedera helix) has been used in cultivation for centuries, but in areas where it is not native, it can be a very problematic plant.

ivy in trees















Origin: Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa

European colonists introduced English ivy as early as 1727. It is widely planted for its evergreen foliage and dependability as a year-round “carefree” groundcover. Although recognized as a serious weed of natural ecosystems, parks, landscapes and other areas, it continues to be sold and marketed as an ornamental plant in the United States. Vast resources, time and labor are expended attempting to manage infestations on public and private lands.

Distribution and Habitat
English ivy is found throughout the eastern U.S. and in the West where it occurs from Arizona to Washington State. It flourishes under shady to full sun conditions in soils that are moderately fertile and moist but it is intolerant of drought and salinity. Habitats invaded include forest openings and edges, fields, cliffs, steep slopes, and disturbed areas.

Ecological Threat
English ivy is an aggressive invader that threatens all vegetation levels of forested and open areas, growing along the ground as well as into the forest canopy. Vines climbing up tree trunks spread out and envelop branches and twigs, blocking sunlight from reaching the host tree’s foliage, thereby impeding photosynthesis. An infested tree will exhibit decline for several to many years before it dies. The added weight of vines also makes trees susceptible to blowing over during storms. English ivy has been confirmed as a reservoir for bacterial leaf scorch (Xylella fastidiosa), a harmful plant pathogen that affects a wide variety of native and ornamental trees such as elms, oaks and maples.



Description and Biology

  • Plant: evergreen perennial climbing vine that attaches to bark of trees, brickwork and other surfaces by root-like structures that exude a glue-like substance to aid in adherence.
  • Leaves: alternate, dark green, waxy, somewhat leathery; extremely variable leaf forms, from unlobed to 3-5 lobed; typically green with whitish veins.
  • Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowering occurs in late summer to early fall, typically under full sun conditions; flowers are small, greenish-yellow and occur in globular starburst type inflorescences at tips of flowering stems; fruits are black with a fleshy outer layer and stone-like seeds.
  • Spreads: vegetatively by vigorous growth at tip of stems; and by seed which is consumed by birds and dispersed to new areas; fruits contain glycosides that may be mildly toxic and cause some birds to regurgitate them; new plants grow easily from cuttings or stem fragments that make contact with the soil.
  • Look-alikes: Irish ivy (Hedera hibernica), Persian ivy (Hedera colchica), Boston ivy (Parthenocissus japonicus) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) may sometimes be confused with English ivy because of its hairy stems but because it is deciduous, it will lack leaves in the winter. In summer, poison ivy can be distinguished easily by its compound leaves of three leaflets and its clusters of creamy white fruits.

NOTE: The leaves and berries of English ivy contain the glycoside hederin which may cause toxicosis if ingested. Symptoms include gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, hyperactivity, breathing difficulty, coma, fever, polydipsia, dilated pupils, muscular weakness, and lack of coordination. This feature also helps ensure effective seed dispersal by birds.

Prevention and Control
Do not plant English ivy including invasive cultivars. Individual vines can be pulled by hand when soil is moist. Vines covering the ground can be uprooted and gathered using a heavy-duty rake, then close to the ground with pruning snips, Swedish brush axe or other cutting tool. Gathered vines can be piled up and allowed to desiccate and rot which will occur quickly, in a matter of days. If needed, material can be bagged and disposed of in normal trash. Vines climbing up trees can be cut a few feet from the ground, for convenience, to kill upper portions and then apply systemic herbicide to lower cut portions


National Parks Service