The Richmond Hill workday was a success

I would like to thank the folks who came out to Richmond Hill Park on a cold December morning to hack and kill the enemy: invasive exotic weeds. With the help of the Western North Carolina Alliance, we cut back Chinese privet and multiflora rose, two very nasty nonnative plants that are damaging native forests in the Southern Appalachians.

Privet forms bushes over 6-feet tall with stems several inches thick. Its dense evergreen foliage prevents other plants from growing in its shade, effectively killing our native wildflowers. Multiflora rose forms dense thickets that can prevent people from using the trails and also pushes out native plants. Another invasive exotic plant we hacked at was Oriental bittersweet, which climbs up trees, strangling them. Some of the bittersweet vines we cut were close to 6 inches in diameter.

We focused on an area on the north side of the park, near the wetlands by the wooden bridge, which has great native wildflowers including trillium, wild geranium, blood root and mayapple. By removing invasive exotic plants, native wildflowers will be able to thrive and dazzle park visitors. Keep an eye out for these beautiful wildflowers as they usher in spring and bright your day.

Dec. 17 was the first workday to remove invasive plants at Richmond Hill, and more will follow. The volunteers worked hard and made an positive impact. Their work is greatly appreciated. Their hard work was supported by many local businesses, and a huge thank you goes out to these business who helped support their community: The Hop, Mellow Mushroom, Ski Country Sports, Wedge Brewery, Mountain Java, Outdoor Bird Company, Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company and Marco's Pizzeria.

For more information about Richmond Hill Park, please email richmondhillforest@gmail.com or visit the Friends of Richmond Hill Park at http://www.richmondhillpark.wordpress.com. There you will find a list of birds, plants and dragonflies that have been found in the park, along with other park information. We are looking for volunteers to help collect more information, work on websites and help development-management plans for the park.

— James Wood
Asheville

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