English ivy kills trees. So does winter creeper, Japanese honeysuckle, and Oriental bittersweet. These all are non-native, invasive species. A tree sheathed in English ivy, or any other invasive vine, needs human help in order to survive.
Invasive species like English ivy destroy the forest canopy in the James River Park System. Likewise, invasive shrubs such as Chinese privet and autumn olive threaten native habitats for birds, butterflies and other creatures.
Thirteen local landscape companies, arborists, and foresters have donated their time and resources to help the James River Park System remove these plant invaders. Each of the following companies has donated a day of their services to remove invasive plants from the park: Terra Forma Landscaping, James River Nurseries, John Richmond Landscaping, Manchester Gardening, Truetimber Arborists, Root Down Tree Management, H & A Landscaping, Sawtooth Tree and Garden, Sneed’s Nursery, Trillium Gardens, Arborcare Professional Tree Service, BWS Landscaping, and the Virginia Forestry and Wildlife Group.
“We participate in efforts to remove invasive species not only because we know the impact they have on the biodiversity of the park system,” says Scott Turner of Truetimber. “We also participate for selfish reasons. As Richmonders we consider the park system our own backyard, and as naturalists we find our backyard most beautiful when full of the native species Mother Nature intended.”
These volunteer efforts are part of the work of the James River Park Invasive Plant Task Force, a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to reducing the negative impact of invasive plants in the James River Park.. The Task Force has a series of events scheduled for National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), Feb. 24 to March 2.
At a NISAW KickOff at Pony Pasture from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, you can “free a tree” from invasive vines, take a guided walk with botanist Robert Wright, see the popular goats that devour the invasives, and possibly win a native plant to take home.
Throughout the week from Monday, Feb. 25, through Saturday, March 2, you can join park staff and TaskVForce volunteers to remove invasives in a different area each day. Details are at http://www.jamesriverpark.org/invasives/ and on the JRPS calendar at https://jamesriverpark.org/calendar/.
A Thank You Party for the 13 companies and other friends of the James River Park is scheduled for 7 pm March 1 at Westover Station. It will feature the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra and will be a great chance to meet new friends. There is no admission, but donations to the cause are greatly appreciated. Westover Station has generously contributed the venue and hors d’oeuvres will be donated by Ellwood Thompson’s. Arc Document Solutions has generously provided printing services.
On March 2, from 10 till noon, you can participate in a two-hour Invasive plant training session offered by Blue Ridge Prism. Learn what you can do in your own backyard and in the James River Park to protect your trees from invading vines and encourage native habitat.