The Beverly Shores/ERG Burning Bush Removal Project

Burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is a very widespread invasive plant in Beverly Shores. Once you recognize the distinctive “wings” or corky ridges on its stems, you can see how widely distributed burning bush is — even in the dead of winter. It is found in almost all non-wetland habitats in town, from woods to open, sunny areas. The source of this invasive shrub is its common use as an ornamental. You will still see it prominently located in many Beverly Shores gardens. It is spreading most rapidly in wooded lots where open understory once hosted a variety of shrubs, vines, wildflowers and wild grasses and sedges. These other native species are now being shaded out. Consider the ecological consequences of one specie taking over the complex diversity of the understory here. What will happen to all the other plants, insects, invertebrates and small animals that depend on the cover and food provided by a diverse composition of plants?

On November 20 and 21, 2021, the Environmental Restoration Group (ERG) began its first annual burning bush removal project along Myrtle Avenue between Underwood and St. Clair, extending onto St. Clair, Janeth and Underwood. The project took place in cooperation with the Town of Beverly Shores, 5 private landowners, many volunteers and a giant wood chipper provided and operated by a local tree service. One volunteer, Neal Mulconrey, was particularly important. A chain saw expert, he made quick work of many burning bush.

To keep the burning bush from returning to these recently cleared areas, some vigilance will be required. Burning bush produces abundant seeds., Many of the seeds germinate in the shade of the parent shrubs. These areas will have to be monitored for several years to remove young shrubs. Fortunately, removal is especially easy when the plants are small and can be pulled by hand.

If you see burning bush invading your property and would like some help in its removal near the roadside, please let the ERG know. We plan to continue our burning bush removal project next year and would like more landowners to volunteer to allow us to cut and remove burning bush from the right-of-way area adjacent to their property. Contact Terry Bonace at tbonace@gmail.com if you are interested.

Look at our web site at www.bserg.org for information on native replacements for burning bush, other invasive species, and native plants. As always, the ERG will be glad to help identify plants for you and make suggestions for native replacements. Don’t hesitate to contact Terry Bonace (tbonace@gmail.com) or Candice Smith (candicepetersonsmith@gmail.com) for assistance.

Larry Sylvestri
Larry Sylvestri shreds burning bush
Brian Ebling
Brian Ebling on the job, with a Tree Mann worker
mulching
Mulching the burning bush