5 hours + 5 Volunteers = 13 bags of wintercreeper

5 hours + 5 Volunteers = 13 bags of wintercreeper

In just a couple of days we’ve managed to free up a sizable area from wintercreeper (and loriope!) encroachment and the cleared space will be a focal point for our soon-to-be-scheduled early December shrub planting.

wintercreeper leavesSevere infestations like this one tend to be “monosystems”. That is, there isn’t much risk to native plants during invasive removal because so few have managed to endure.  Yet we always use caution and this Wednesday we managed to rescue a few Paw Paw and Hickory seedlings from the dense vines. As we continue to work in this area we’ll be watching out for the native bleeding heart and Virginia bluebells that volunteers have planted in the past.

Is it discouraging to heave thirteen heavy bags of vines with aching arms and have perhaps just a 15 x 20 foot area to show for it?  It can be.  But our goal is not to eradicate every invasive from every square inch of the park system.  Our goal is to tip the balance and, come spring, we’ll have retaken a significant oasis with native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants needed to host diverse populations of native insects, birds, and other wildlife.  As we expand healthy habitat in all sections of the park system we’ll be creating an urban wildlife corridor.

Keep an eye on our calendar for workdays and our December planting!

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Hollywood Rapids After

Hollywood Rapids After

Old-style heavy leather work gloves are best for this work because of the thorns in the greenbrier. Check the calendar for workdays!

Photo by Tree Steward Carol Ridderhof

Native Dogwood at Quarry Rock

native-dogwoodA year ago, this rock face at the western end of Belle Isle was hidden in a forest of mature ailanthus and other invasive species. On Thursday, this native dogwood greeted Tree Stewards who organized planting it and more than two dozen other trees there in October. It has a long way to go, and so do our habitat restoration activities, but what a thrill to see it thriving now!