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Researchers use drone technology to find Oriental bittersweet in Winona County

WINONA COUNTY, Minn. (FOX 47) –  Researchers are turning to the skies to combat an invasive species in Southeast Minnesota.

Oriental Bittersweet has been found in recent years primarily near Winona, in Homer and Wilson townships.

It’s a non-native vine that smothers and then kills mature trees.

Now, the Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota are starting to use drones to more easily spot Oriental bittersweet from above, and determine which areas to prioritize.

The researchers performed their first drone test flight last week and plan to continue with a focus on Homer Township.

Winona County landowners who think they might have oriental bittersweet on their property should report it to Anne Morse at amorse@co.winona.mn.us or call 507-457-6468.

Erin O'Brien

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