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WEED WHACKERS

From Staff Reports
To a chorus of spring peeper frogs from the creek and wetlands, several community volunteers were at work in Persimmon Ridge Park last Saturday morning. Wielding weed wrenches, pruning saws and mattocks, they were making a start at eradication of pesky and aggressive invasive plants that are spreading in and around the wetlands and along same stretches of the Park’s trails. The effort was in response, partially, to recent action by the Legislature calling attention to the growing damage to Tennessee’s forests and rural landscapes from invasive pest species.
Above, Bob Keiter of Johnson City gets to work on unwanted weeds.
Three among the Tennessee Pest Plant Council’s “Most Wanted” are being targeted by the volunteer group. The multiflora rose, whose thorny stems arch high along or across paths can be obnoxious to walkers and, rooting easily where canes contact the ground forms new plants in what can look like an unstoppable growth pattern. The shrubby privet, its seeds spread wide and far by birds, grows into dense thickets, displacing the native shrubs and flowers that normally inhabit the understory in our natural forest. The Japanese honeysuckle perniciously girdles limbs and trunks of shrubs and trees, often killing them by cutting off the flow of water, further advantaged against deciduous trees by its semi-evergreen nature and long, active growing season.
Pending weather conditions, the group will hold another, two-hour work session in the Park on Saturday morning, April 3.