March 20, 2009
Charlotte, NC-- Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department will launch a surprise horticultural attack Tuesday, March 24, 2009 against “Green Invaders” in natural areas near Charlotte Nature Museum and along Sugar Creek Greenway in Freedom Park. Green Invaders are invasive exotic plants, which have become a serious problem at Freedom Park. The attack will be supported by mechanized equipment including trucks, chippers, chainsaws, loppers, and chemical weapons with herbicide.
The battle is expected to rage most of the day, conducted by special forces from the Park and Recreation, reinforced by more than a dozen citizen volunteers. Spearheading the advance will be the department’s Horticulture Team, Natural Resources Team and volunteers from the Carolina Wetland Services; Natives, Inc.; Bank of America; NC Wildlife Federation; and NC Native Plant Society.
The purpose of this battle is to overcome and remove non-native, invasive and exotic species and to disseminate public information and increase awareness among noncombatants that invasive exotic plants are detrimental to the natural environment. These plants often over-run native vegetation for habitat and eventually take over an area.
Kudzu is an example is a Green Invader. Other examples of invasive exotic species are Chinese privet, Autumn Olive and English Ivy. These plants are foreigners! They were brought from other countries, either intentionally (horticulture trade, erosion control, etc.) or accidentally (hitchhikers, packing materials, etc.). They have no natural enemies here to control them. They spread from their original lines to invade new areas with airborne seeds or flanking and pincer growth. They are prolific at producing seeds, so they reproduce at alarming rates. Many come from Europe and Asia, then assimilate secretly into local populations because they come from similar latitudes and climates.
The battlefield for the attack on March 24 will stretch across four acres of wooded terrain. Park and Recreation special forces will lead 40-50 assault troops to mount the surprise attack. For more information contact Park and Rec’s James Collins: 704 200-6323 or Gary Marshall: 980 722-2107.