MILE-A-MINUTE INVADES MORRIS PARK

 

Persicaria perfoliata

When we see this plant, we are highly alarmed.  It has a horror quality to it. The way it grows, what it looks like, and what it does. Maybe in its native Asian habitat it is an elegant and necessary addition to a well-rounded ecosystem, but here it is a dangerous emerging invasive. We will describe it for you and tell you a story about how it has pulled us into the forest for the winter, creating a demand for our focus and attention on one very blighted area exemplifying urban park deforestation.

This annual Asian vine is considered an emerging invasive in Morris Park; however it is being spread rapidly and is occurring in the most disturbed areas of the park.  Along the southern portion of  the Eastern Branch of Indian Creek, where it appears soil has been transported from elsewhere out of necessity to fill in severely eroded streambanks, there is an especially dense invasion of this species, which we have made attempts at pulling out.  Being that it is an annual, just pulling the plant before it goes to seed is enough to make a difference, as long as all of the plants in a given area are pulled!

MILE-A MINUTE
MILE-A MINUTE

Note the triangular leaves of this very slender vine.  At each leaf node, where the leaf stem intersects with the vine, there is a small rounded collar that is pierced through by the vine giving it the perfoliata part of its Latin name.  Also of note is the prickly reflexed barbs that make this vine very unpleasant to come into contact with. The light and delicate habit of this vine, allows it to grow rapidly, and cover over shrubs and trees, especially in already degraded areas of forests, forest edges, and cleared areas along railroad tracks, roads, right of ways, etc. It is also being found in the forested areas of Morris Park, where it is most likely being transported by the increasingly abundant Deer population.

The vine enshrouds other plants, using their structures as a means to climb and reach sunlight, creating an unsightly mass of triangular leaves and barbed stems until there is nothing left to see but this plant.

 

Then come the berries, these juicy, attractive blue berries are the sole means of propagation. Birds could also be consuming and transporting the seeds contained within, to any location, including your own yard!  We find this vine in our yard every year.

If you see the seeds, remove and trash them.  The best control is close monitoring of at-risk sites and of course your own yard and uprooting of the plant before going to seed. This is a similar control method to Garlic Mustard, except you do not have to remove the plant if you get it early enough.

Mile-A-Minute
Mile-A-Minute

Keeping an eye out for emerging invasives such as Mile-A-Minute is an ongoing activity. However in some blighted areas so dense with invasives that they are impenetrable, detecting emerging invasives is difficult. This is a situation where a blighted area can become a source of more blight.  In one such area of Morris Park, an infestation of Mile-a-Minute was found after chopping through the thorny, dense thickets of the invasives Wineberry and Multiflora Rose.

These two species can pierce through clothing and skin, easily drawing blood, tearing clothes, and causing pain as well as itching and irritation. The Multiflora Rose has thorns that will grab, rip and penetrate clothing and skin, while the Wineberry has needle-like spines that can remain in your clothing and skin. These two species grow in thickets, with tall, arching growth habits, where the tip of the plants can actually root themselves several feet away. In an infestation, this behavior creates fence-like enclosures that are very difficult to enter.

IMG_7425Above is Mile-a-Minute that has been able to grow and produce seed. This is a picture of the ugly remains left behind.  We were physically unable to monitor this site by the thorny thickets  and visually obscured from it by the dense entanglement of Japanese Honeysuckle that has been choking the nearby bushes and small trees.  It took a really cold December day to get near these dormant plants and begin exploring what was growing in the area. The discovery of the Mile-a-Minute was disturbing to see. Enough is Enough. We had to do something about this mess!

Volunteer Isabelle Dijols removes Japanese Honeysuckle from Spicebush in Morris Park, Philadelphia
Volunteer Isabelle Dijols removes Japanese Honeysuckle from Spicebush in Morris Park, Philadelphia

The first order of business was to remove the Multi-flora Rose and the Wineberry by pulling them out of the ground with the help of digging tools and very thick gloves. These plants were then chopped up with clippers and scattered about, just off the site, so there is no big ugly pile of plant material left behind that will stifle the growth of native plants. The uprooted plants will then die on site and they will decompose back into the soil maintaining the bio-mass of the forest.

Then the Japanese Honeysuckle vines which were climbing up the small trees and shrubs and covering the ground in a dense matte were all pulled up as well.

Below is a ‘before’ picture of the site from the main trail.

Morris Park, Philadelphia
Morris Park, Philadelphia

Below is a picture of Wineberry, showing its spines, color and habit, all with the backdrop of the late December light.

Morris Park, Philadelphia, Wineberry
Morris Park, Philadelphia, Wineberry

Below is the Multiflora Rose. The thorns on these branches are as sturdy as they look, firmly attached to the stiff plant, they have little give and lots of shredding power if moved across them at a hiking pace. Moving through a thicket of this is also an easy way to get ticks and become susceptible to Lyme Disease.  This is not an environment we want to have so close to the densely populated rowhouse neighborhood of Overbrook.

Multiflora Rose, Morris Park, Philadelphia
Multiflora Rose, Morris Park, Philadelphia

You can see how this plant creates an impenetrable thicket. The stems are as stiff as they look, the older ones with a woody stiffness. In a thicket, the criss-crossing of the stalks makes them even more like a barbed-wire fence.

Approaching the mechanical eradication of these plants, the outer portions are snipped down with a clippers until just about a foot remains above ground.  When all of the infestation is clipped down and the stalks are dispersed, than the lower portions can be removed from the ground by using digging tools to loosen the roots and then gently pulling  and tugging on the roots until most of them can be teased out of the ground. The plant will then die above ground.  Any portions of roots left in the ground may re-grow in the ensuing years, so the site will need to be monitored, as is usually the case in any eradication effort.

After the roots are removed, we intuitively put the soil back in place and cover it with leaves, with the idea to do as little disturbance as possible, only displacing what we absolutely must. It also looks better.

Often, a disturbed forest never looks right. It seems overcrowded and entangled or on the opposite side of the spectrum barren and depleted, depending on the blighting condition.  A healthy or restored forest has a ‘comfortable’ look to it: We can see the trees, the shrubs, and short plants growing along the forest floor. No one thing dominates the landscape. We could walk through it if we had to. We can see through it to an acceptable degree.

When we remove the invasives from an infested section of the Park, It looks better, and in just a few short years it looks great!

 

Tree-of -Heaven, Morris Park, Philadelphia
Tree-of -Heaven, Morris Park, Philadelphia

Our adventures clearing the invasive thicket revealed a whole series of other invasive trees and vines that were growing amidst the Multiflora Rose and the Wineberry. We encountered and removed close to 100 specimens of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) saplings and seedlings, Japanese Angelica tree (Aralia elata), and about 50 vines of English Ivy (Hedera helix).  These plants were removed by pulling and tugging, getting as much of the roots out as possible, and then placing them above ground , spread about  just off of the disturbed and currently-being-restored site, where they will die, their roots unable to reach soil.

Root of Tree-of -Heaven, Morris Park, Philadelphia
Root of Tree-of -Heaven, Morris Park, Philadelphia

Above is the root of the Tree-of -Heaven. As we work, we have learned to identify the plants we are saving and removing, from the leaves, the stems and the roots. As we move along through each species, they become more and more easy to distinguish.

The roots of the Ailanthus are very pale, and often have the 90 degree angle in saplings. The bark is smooth with a silvery-tan appearance and large, pale heart-shaped leaf-scars as shown the second picture above help distinguish this tree in its sapling stage.

This Ailanthus tree has such an iconic presence in the City Of Philadelphia, that it is easy to distinguish once you start focusing in on it. It always helps to consult with those in the know, like your local municipal authority and Parks and Rec official who may deal with problematic invasive species daily and is more than willing to educate you on the ones that grow in your area of concern.  In fact, we were not only educated about them, but The Philadelphia Parks and Rec Department took our Invasive tree problem so seriously that they came out and applied basal bark herbicide to the infestation of a maturing cluster of Tree-of-Heaven in the area that we are now working on.  These maturing trees were reaching forty feet in height and were throwing out thousands of seeds every year. The trees are now all dead and have fallen down. Now we have to monitor the site and pull out the hundreds of seedlings that sprout every year.

 

 

Root of Aralia elata, The Japanese Angelica Tree, Morris Park, Philadelphia
Root of Aralia elata, The Japanese Angelica Tree, Morris Park, Philadelphia

Above is the root of the Japanese Angelica Tree (Aralia elata). This problematic invasive has also required the partnership with the Philadelphia dept of Parks and Recreation. Their application of Garlon4 ultra, around the base of the trees in February 2011 and 2012 has resulted in the death of these maturing trees, which were also producing thousands of seeds per year, and now there are the resulting thousands of seedlings growing, which we will have to be pulling for as long as we are able.

Once both of these species have reached maturity, it is very difficult to eradicate them manually, and the use of herbicides becomes necessary. The reason for this is that these trees develop large underground root systems that are capable of re-sprouting aggressively even if the above-ground plant is removed by a volunteer.

We appreciate our partnership with the City of Philadelphia in that they can eradicate the larger specimens and infestations and we as volunteers can focus on the details of completing a thorough environmental restoration, which can often evolve into a tedious but necessary ongoing inspection and maintenance of each site.

 Euonymus alatus, The Burning Bush, Morris Park, Philadelphia
Euonymus alatus, The Burning Bush, Morris Park, Philadelphia

 

As we ventured further into the depths of this highly disturbed site, we discovered the invasive shrub, Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus). We yank it out gently, getting all the roots and toss it off site where it will die, or hang it from an adjacent tree or shrub.

Root of Euonymus alatus, The Burning Bush, Morris Park, Philadelphia
Root of Euonymus alatus, The Burning Bush, Morris Park, Philadelphia

Above is the roots of the invasive exotic shrub, Euonymus alatus, Burning Bush, just pulled out from the ground here in Morris Park.

We see this invasive shrub in many sites in Morris Park and within the Fairmount Park System, and would love to have all of the time and resources to pull it out!

Morris Park, Philadelphia
Morris Park, Philadelphia

Above, we see the invasive tree, Ailanthus altissima, the Tree-of -Heaven, Multiflora Rose, (thin green stalks), Wineberry, Mile-A-Minute, and Japanese Honeysuckle, all of them growing together in a mass of invasives. This dead Tree-Of-Heaven was one of the ones sprayed with Garlon 4 Ultra in a basal-bark application in Late February 2011 by Philadelphia Parks and Rec.

Isabelle Dijols removes invasive Multiflora rose,Morris Park, Philadelphia
Isabelle Dijols removes invasive Multiflora rose, Morris Park, Philadelphia

This infestation of Tree-of Heaven, Japanese Angelica tree, Japanese Honeysuckle, Burning Bush, English Ivy, Multiflora Rose, Wineberry, Mile-a-Minute and Garlic Mustard will take us all winter to remove. Whenever we have time, an hour here and an hour there, we are out there, getting some sunlight, some exercise and something accomplished.

Sean Solomon removes Tree-of-Heaven, Morris Park, Philadelphia
Sean Solomon removes Tree-of-Heaven, Morris Park, Philadelphia

The scene in the back-ground,adjacent to the site we are currently working on pictured above and below, was at one time full of these same invasives that covered the forest floor, the shrub layer and climbing up the trees, now all gone.

 Morris Park, Philadelphia
Morris Park, Philadelphia

When we first pulled them all out five years ago, it wasn’t as pretty, but now those plants have rested on the forest floor, decomposed into soil, and are being slowly transformed into native plants under our watchful eye. We monitor this partially restored site for invasives every year, and pull out the Mile-A-Minute vine whenever we see it. Please let us know if you have seen this vine or have a problem with it in the natural area near you!

THE SCHUYLKILL CENTER BLOOMS

THE SANGUINE ROOT VISITS THE SCHUYLKILL CENTER FOR ENVRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Trillium grandiflorum, Schuylkill Center For Environmental Education
Trillium grandiflorum, Schuylkill Center For Environmental Education

 

We sat down on the narrow trail to admire the Phlox and the bluebells in the early afternoon sunlight. Up the south facing hill we could see Trillium grandiflorum , Spring Beauty and Mayapple blooming away, their white and pink flowers glowing in the precious spring light. The Beech, Oak, Sycamore and Maples had not fully leafed out yet, creating a magnificent filtered light, a bathing light, a light the flowers soaked up, ripening their delicate petals until they filled to maturity until the last hour of total vibrance, the height of their full bloom.

To see these flowers at their peak is to see Spring, our recognition of this moment is our initiation into the rite of our personal passage into the season, with each flower we perceive, our sense of spring is that much more matured, we appreciate Spring and we begin to understand it .  Once we have reached the awareness of Spring and its splendid beauty, it is ever so easy to see the decline: even the slightest wilt of the flowers is ours to behold, The Trilliums get an edge of brown around the edges, the bluebells lose their bluest of flowers to the sky ultimately, and we are left with our desire to see the newest and freshest bloom.

Spring is tulmultuous. Even seeing flowers we never got to see bloom withering away is unsettling; we were not there, Spring is moving too fast-its as if our own aspirations become tied to the blooms-What if we will never experience the true Spring, the Spring of all the flowers, the one Spring that will give us all that we need to be completely connected to the spring.

Spring will do that to us- an awakening that is vigorous and fresh, yet so full of uncertainties. There is something to be said for a Spring break.

Stop and see the flowers!

Your moment to become part of Spring is when you see the blooms and feel the air and recognize that a new time is here.

 

We were pleased to see that the invasive Garlic mustard had been removed from the area.  Last year it was a disturbing presence among the trilliums and the bluebells. We found out that the 3rd saturday of every month is an invasive removal workday! What a great way to be a part of spring; volunteer your time doing environmental restoration in your local natural area! Now that the Garlic mustard has been removed for this year, the acorns can germinate, and the Beeches, Oaks, Maples and Sycamores can become the seedlings for the next generation of forest. This will be the forest that will maintain the biodiversity we have seen today.  With all of the invasive species problems in the world today, the forests need us to come out and give a hand.  It was truly heart-warming for us to see that the schuylkill environmental education center is making a concerted effort to restore their magnificent forest. We had a magical walk through the enchanting Ravine loop, and we would love to come out one day when we can and volunteer and to tell our own story of Morris Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE JAPANESE ANGELICA-TREE RAPIDLY INVADES MORRIS PARK

ARALIA ELATA. THE JAPANESE ANGELICA TREE HAS EMERGED AS AN INCREASING THREAT.  NUMEROUS, RAPIDLY GROWING INFESTATIONS ARE BEING DOCUMENTED ACROSS THE PARK. MECHANICAL REMOVAL IS DIFFICULT AND PROBLEMATIC. AREAS IN IMMEDIATE NEED OF RE-FORESTATION ARE INSTEAD EXPERIENCING ECOLOGICAL DEGRADATION BECAUSE OF THIS SPECIES.

 Aralia elata, THE JAPANESE ANGELICA TREE, SPINES ON THE TRUNK
Aralia elata THE JAPANESE ANGELICA TREE, SPINES ON THE TRUNK

An Angel or the Devil?  There has been so much confusion over this species because of its resemblance to the native North American species Aralia spinosa, or the Devil’s Walking Stick also called  Hercules’ Club.  For the longest time we thought it was the native tree growing in Morris Park, and being that it does have very interesting qualities we embraced this plant.  Its beautiful bi and tri-pinnately compound leaves give a sense of refined elegance to the plant world, in that there is a degree of replication and logical order in a single leaf arrangement.  Also the flowers, which bloom in late August throughout September have a commanding presence and pleasing white and subtle pinkish color.  The dark berries it produces are quickly gathered by birds, furthering the plant’s range as the birds deposit the seeds elsewhere.

Of course we looked it up in The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania, the Annotated Checklist and Atlas by Anne Fowler Rhoades and William McKinley Klein Jr., published 18 years ago in 1993.  What is called The ‘Devil’s Walking stick’ was listed as native and our county of Philadelphia was included in its native range. This is a clear example of how confusion quickly arises from the usage of common names which is why we use and repeat the Latin names, often to the point that the common name is secondary in our discussion.

Being satisfied with our information we did not investigate the plant further, just left it at that for the time being.  We did notice how aggressive this tree was.

The similarities to the native Hercules’ Club (Aralia spinosa) had us fooled, along with many others throughout the twentieth century. In the meantime, this species, the Aralia elata, introduced into Fairmount Park in the early Twentieth century  according to the Trees Of Pennsylvania (Rhoades and Block, 2005) was  for  this whole time invading forests, ever increasing in size and expanding its territory to outside of Philadelphia and beyond. Now Aralia elata is considered an emerging invasive by the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team , and was featured on their 2010 list of plants to watch. The New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team  has a sophisticated online map of the  most problematic emerging invasive plants (see interactive map  feature).  It is disturbing to view the prevalence of  Aralia elata on this map. Populations are found throughout the state. It is also rapidly invading forested sections of Long Island in New York State.

Aralia elata, looking up at an infestation of the trees in the winter sky
Aralia elata, looking up at an infestation of the trees in the winter sky

The Staff of Fairmount Park (now Parks and Recreation) alerted us to the non-native status of this species. They had by this time already made a ‘first-pass’ effort at controlling a large and disturbing colony in Morris Park, in what is our area of scope.

The learning curve went from there. There is nothing better than being pointed in the right direction. We consulted The Plants of Pennsylvania by Rhoads and Block, the second edition, printed  4 years ago in 2007. Here this ‘Asian Native’ plant was listed as being “naturalized in disturbed woodlands” especially in the “southeast” portion of our state.  Reading The Trees of Pennsylvania, we got a more complete story. We can now distinguish between the native to Pennsylvania (but not Philadelphia County) Hercules Club, Devils Walking Stick, (Aralia spinosa) and the invasive exotic Japanese Angelica Tree, (Aralia elata).

Both plants are in the Ginseng Family, Araliaceae.  The botanical differences? First of all, we have not ever seen a native to North America but not Philadelphia Aralia spinosa, ‘Hercules Club’. Hopefully that will change, and our horizons will someday be expanded on this front. The natural range of the Aralia spinosa in Pennsylvania is further west in the state.  If one was found in Philadelphia, it would be considered introduced. Aralia spinosa lacks historical origins in Philadelphia county, and Morris Park. A native species that lacks the local provenance of an area it is introduced to, has the potential to become problematic.

The botanical differences are distinct , but to the discerning eye.  For now, two differences to start with: the flower on the native Hercules’club (Aralia spinosa) is borne on a distinct stalk, where the inflorescence radiates from a vertical spine.  The non-native Aralia elata has either an extremely short stalk or none at all. The inflorescence radiates out from one distinct bottom point.  The leaf is the next to look at:  In the native Spinosa, there is a border around the leaf, much like Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit), whereas the non-native elata has the leaf veins extending to the very edge. (However this is not the most reliable difference in making a definitive distinction between these two closely related species)

AN INFESTATION OF JAPANESE ANGELICA TREE NEXT TO AMERICAN CHESTNUT
AN INFESTATION OF JAPANESE ANGELICA TREE NEXT TO AMERICAN CHESTNUT

Having studied the published data on the Aralia, we then decided to check for ourselves the field data.  We chose multiple populations in Morris Park to examine as well as ones in The Wyndale Woods in Cobbs Creek Park, multiple populations in the Wissahickon Valley Park and West Park near Memorial Hall.  The field data examinations were performed during the blossoming of the flowers and the setting of seeds, which occurred between August and October of 2010.

Botanical Descriptions are the most valuable and appreciated in the field, where we are confronted first -hand with the plant in question. We  hang-on to every word of the description and look carefully at the plant, more than we ever have before.  Out of context a botanical description is useful only to a degree, but on site, every aspect is important in positively identifying the plant.

All of our analysis of the botanical features that differentiate Aralia elata from Aralia spinosa were found to be congruous with the conclusions of  the multiple written sources we consulted.

Aralia elata
Aralia elata

The 12 year old Fairmount Park Master Plan (Volume 2 Cobbs Creek 1999 see ‘park specific’ plans for Cobbs Creek) does not  mention the invasive Aralia elata at all. Why this is could be of two reasons:  That it had  not yet spread into Cobbs Creek and Morris Park (considered part of Cobbs Creek) or, the confusion of its non-native, invasive status was unknown at the time.  Most illustrative of this is the description of the Wyndale Ave Forest, site name ‘Wyndale High Quality Woods’ (v105).  In the description, this area, which is very close to Morris Park, reads:

“This is a high quality area which is considered to be one of the nicest stands of woods in Cobbs Creek Park. Identifying this as a high quality woods and protecting this area against invasion by exotic vegetation and human disturbance is recommended. A survey to identify rare native flora and fauna should be performed to ensure protection of this contiguous parcel of of woods, as it could serve as habitat for various species which are not found in disturbed sites. This area should be maintained by routine exotic removal on the fringes and trash removal by volunteers.”

This beautifully written, concise statement by those who were tasked to assess the whole of the Cobbs Creek/Morris park portion of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, has become words cast in bronze, and carved in stone for us at the Sanguine Root. What could better describe our day-to-day life in preserving Morris Park than this eloquent statement written twelve years ago?

The Fairmount Park Master plan, written in the last millenium, over 1/10th of a century ago, is still relevant, and for us, still is a goal to be achieved, especially in what it has to say about Morris Park. In the Sanguine Root Office we have a printed out copy of the pdf in a three ring binder.

However, what is not said in this soon becoming ancient but  still relevant document is the status of the Japanese Angelica Tree (Aralia elata). This species is not even mentioned in the list of Invasive species in Cobbs Creek Park. This was 12 years ago. Was the species not prevalent 12 years ago or was there still confusion about its status and it was overlooked as a problem?   These are our questions, and hopefully they will be answered in time. So, we decided to visit our neighbor, the Wyndale High Quality Woods, V105, and this is what we found: We were so happy to see such a beautiful forest! Oaks, Beeches, ferns, even in late autumn, this place was  the real Pennsylvania through and through. We found an American Chestnut, Castanea dentata. Just about one mile from Morris Park.  However, we  found a significant infestation of Aralia elata, the Japanese Angelica tree. Hundreds of specimens.  This is an alarming situation. First and Foremost, we need to alert the authorities, The Parks and Recreation department of the City Of Philadelphia.  We did this already.   While Morris Park is our Focus and area of Scope, we would be ready at almost any time to also help out with our neighbor, the  Wyndale Ave High Quality Woods, site V 105.

An Angel or the Devil.  The question pricks at our consciousness at every turn, as morality is a human concern and for good reason. However, in the plant and animal world this is irrelevant. Lucky we, that we have the luxury of making distinctions. We are a versatile species, us  Homo sapien sapiens. we can create the problem as a species and we can work to reverse the problem, and care passionately about it on top of that, for whatever that is worth in our estimation.  We, as a species brought the Japanese Angelica tree to our forests.  We thought it was pretty, or it was completely overlooked, introduced  along with some other introduced tree or flower, during the craze of the Centennial Exhibition or in the aftermath.  Regardless, we have to deal with it now.

Aralia elataThe Japanese Angelica tree,  Aralia elata crowds out native species, Morris park philadelphia
Aralia elata  The Japanese Angelica tree, Aralia elata crowds out native species, Morris Park Philadelphia

DEALING WITH ARALIA ELATA

Aralia elata, the Japanese Angelica tree, grows quickly and has a habit of growing in clumps, that increase in size exponentially . The beautiful bi- and tri-pinnately compound leaves are very large, and they shade out the sun preventing other species from growing. On the soil side of things, Aralia elata grows underground runners every which way interfering with any native species at the site.  The clump becomes a monoculture as other species decline in population and become extirpated.

Removing them by hand can be done, but only in certain situations.  If they can be gently enough teased out of the ground (to disturb the soil as little as possible) but all of the plant must be removed.  Any root fragment left behind will grow into a new tree.  As a temporary step, even just cutting the tree will at least prevent it from going to seed and will slow down its growth of runners.  If there are other young  native tree saplings nearby, hand-pulling can disturb the soil and threaten the native plants.  The runners and roots of Aralia elata often wrap around and penetrate the root systems of other plants. From a hand-control perspective, cutting it down, and then monitoring that one specimen season after season after season, along with any others could work in eradicating it.

Isabelle makes an assessment of the largest infestation  Aralia elata,  Morris Park Philadelphia
Isabelle Dijols makes an assessment of the largest infestation.  Aralia elata, Morris Park Philadelphia

Our situation in Morris Park is beyond a few specimens that we could manage by repeated cutting, even though we are on the site every day.  In one area there is an estimated 1000 specimens, ranging in trunk size from 8 inches thick, to mere whips. This is a monstrous infestation, and is a great challenge.  The Environmental Stewardship Division of Fairmount Park has, as mentioned earlier, started to address this one problematic patch.  Also growing at the site are Beech and Oak saplings that are the future of the forest, if the Aralia elata can be eliminated.

On this Friday, February 18, 2011, the staff of the Sanguine Root , in partnership with the Environment and Stewardship Division of Parks and Recreation will be taking steps to eliminate the Aralia elata at this site.  We will be getting an early start at 10 AM, so as many trees as possible can be eliminated.  Qualified Fairmount Park Restoration Field Technicians will be working with us, applying herbicide to the stumps as we cut them. We are not sure which one, but possibly triclopyr, which is recommended by the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team (see the Control Methods pdf).  The Sanguine Root Staff is not qualified, certified or authorized to use any herbicides. It is unfortunate we have to have them used at all, but the situation is that difficult and serious.

We are also racing the clock with this project because once the trees begin to exit dormancy they will start producing sap which flows upwards, and would push out any herbicides applied to the cut stumps. Also to be considered is the spring wildflowers such as Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) will be coming up on this site and we don’t want to accidentally crush them. In light of this, we have fast-tracked our planning and were able to take a day off of work to facilitate this much needed project.