March is Richmond Invasive Species Awareness Month

Invasive plant species occur in every city park, along streets and in most alleys, and on private property. They are so numerous in Richmond that they might appear to be normal, but they are far from normal and are causing harm!  Some examples:

Invasive plants / Biological Trash

  • change the soil chemistry and/or produce chemicals that inhibit sprouting or growth of native species.
  • shade other plants preventing their growth.
  • some simply become so prolific that they reproduce faster than our native species.

Impacts are

  • loss of tree canopy allows polluted water to enter our streams and neighborhoods are warmer, with some areas becoming urban heat islands. 
  • loss of native plant species that provide food and shelter for native fauna, decreasing populations and sometimes even threatening extinction.
  • threats to human health.

In Richmond, there are several volunteer groups working to remove invasive species from our parks, but did you know that some of these plants may have come from your yard?  Birds and other critters eat the berries and then spread seed to other locations; other seeds are dispersed by wind or other means.  This month we will be posting information about the most common invasive plants in the area with some resources about how to control them.  

Let’s try to stop the spread.  Look around your property for a plant that you should remove and perhaps volunteer for work in a park.  Both Reedy Creek Coalition and our sponsor, Friends of Forest Hill Park, have regular workdays.  Stay tuned for more information about specific plants as we work together to…

*Note that the term invasive refers to those species not native to an area.  The term aggressive is used for plants that are native, but can become numerous in some situations. Therefore, when we say “invasive” this refers only to non-native species.   

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