If you’re visiting the Pony Pasture section of the park system this fall and winter, keep an eye out for our work underway near the entrance (to your left as you approach the rapids).
The Riverine chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists (a founding and lead member of the JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force) has “adopted” Pony Pasture/Wetlands as the Task Force’s newest priority project. Riverines took the lead on surveying the six management units within this 95 acre section of the park system in the summer of 2015 and know well each and every one of the 21 invasive plants thriving in the Pony Pasture/Wetlands section.
Where to begin? At the beginning. We’ve been preparing a small area just west of the kiosk for restoration planting of native trees, shrubs, and grasses. Over the course of four three-hour workdays since early November, small groups of volunteers have pulled up hundreds of pounds of the dominant invasive, Wintercreeper, which overtaken this area as well as much of the rest of Pony Pasture. You will also recognize it as the vine blanketing Huguenot Flatwater.
Wintercreeper isn’t the only invasive plant in this small area. There are also Amur Honeysuckle and Chinese Privet (shrubs), Loriope (grass), Garlic Mustard (biennial herbaceous) and Beefsteak Plant (annual herbaceous). But fall/winter is the optimal time for pulling vines; chilly weather is perfect for the vigorous work, areas are more accessible, native herbaceous plants are dormant and less likely to become casualties, and invasives are easily identified (excluding American Holly, pines, and Eastern Red Cedar, the only green you see in the park in winter is the bad kind!)
Want to help out? Check out our calendar for workday opportunities.