What was mowed on Jenks Road was Phragmites, a non-native, aggressive, invasive species which is on the State of Maine list of invasive species. Phragmites are attracted to fresh water wetlands. Once started they take over, spreading both by seed and underground rhizomes. They choke out the native plant species and the debris from fallen Phragmites, eventually decomposes and fills in the wetlands. If you are interested, you can learn more at the State of Maine website, http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/PDFpubs/2532.pdf.

Phragmites are not Cattails and, in fact, can choke out the growth of cattails. Cattails have the familiar brown seed area along its stem. Phragmites seeds are feathery "hands" waving at the top of the stems. Cattail leaves are long and begin about a 1/4 way up the stem. Phragmites leaves grow along the stem all the way up, in alternating order. See Richard Hackel photos below. Ridding Jenks Road of Phragmites will be difficult. We have now taken the first step in what we hope will be controlling them, but they'll be back next Spring.

Our mowing has stimulated a wonderful series of oral histories about the "ponds" on Jenks Road, which occupied this location before the Phragmites took over. Donna Damon remembers her grandmother picking cranberries, in what was called the Cranberry Meadow. Gary Ross and Nathan Doughty remember skating on the ponds and Jenny Hackel and George Hayden remember swimming and trying to stand on slippery submerged logs. Some have thought that a storm may have raised the dune and cutoff any tidal aspect of the ponds. If others have stories or memories, please pass them along -- they are a lot more interesting than battling the phragmites.

Please contact Lynn Mills at lynnmills44@gmail.com with photos or stories.