Written by Myra Klockenbrink
Saturday, November 13, Friends of the Montgomery Pinetum, Pomerance and Tuchman Parks will partner with Greenwich Green & Clean to give the beloved woodland some love.
Litter will be collected, invasive plants will be removed and native shrubs will be planted. Interested volunteers can meet 9:00am to 12:00 noon at either the Orchard Street entrance to Pomerance or on the east side of the park at the Greenwich Botanical Center. Volunteers will be manning tables with handouts, buckets and tools. Bring sturdy shoes, gloves and a water bottle.
The Friends group will be targeting one invasive plant in particular on Saturday – Euonymus elata, or the commonly named Burning Bush or Winged Euonymus. When full-grown this aggressive plant grows into a small tree-like shrub up to 20 feet high. Shoots of the plant emerge from the roots of these shrubs creating dense groves in our forests. By crowding out our native understory – shrubs like witch hazel and various viburnums – important food sources for wildlife disappear and a once diverse landscape teeming with a diversity of insects, birds and small mammals is lost. When the forest is taken over by these invasive plants they disturb the ecology of the forest and make the forest itself vulnerable to new diseases and less able to regenerate itself.
One part of the Pinetum forest that has been taken over by Euonymus is the area that will be targeted on Saturday. Dozens of the plants have established themselves and there is virtually no other shrub species in the area. Parks and Recreation staff will cut down the bigger shrubs and volunteers will clip the branches and create manageable piles that can be left as cover for wildlife or taken away to be composted.
It is important for residents to learn about Winged Euonymus and avoid planting it in their gardens and hedges as it escapes into our woodlands.
The good news is that native shrubs will be planted on Saturday in an area of the park that has been cleared of invasives. Aronia, or chokeberry, bushes will be planted. The bushes are favored by many pollinating insects and are a host plant for many species of moths and butterflies. The berries are a great food source for birds and the shrub has a beautiful purple-red leaf display in the fall.
Please consider joining on Saturday, Nov 13. There will be something to do for everyone, including bulb planting for the little ones.
Contact [email protected] to register and with any questions.