Tuesday, May 21, 2013
First Annual Weed Smackdown in Valley of the Moon Park
No weeds no more. Check out how hundreds stomped out a big problem that's growing into people's back yards.
The first annual “Weed Smackdown” took place in Anchorage at Man in the Moon Park on Saturday. More than one hundred volunteers turned out to take part in an effort aimed at eradicating non-native plants.
Saturday’s event focused on the European bird cherry tree, or the May Day tree as it’s better known. Some of the larger trees were actually planted by the city more than 30 years ago before it was understood how far they would spread.
“Nobody knew it was going to be invasive,” says Municipal forester Scott Stringer.
“It’s one of those trees that hasn’t been invasive around the rest of the country but this one is now taking over Campbell Creek and Chester Creek.”
The trees choke out other types of native vegetation, which impacts the food chain.
It’s a problem for animals, which need a variety of food and plant life to survive.
In some cases they can even be deadly. Biologists say the May Day Tree produces cyanide under its bark for a short period just after freeze up. At least three moose have died from nibbling on the bark.
Volunteers removed quite a few smaller trees on Saturday. The city plans to eventually take out the oldest trees and replace them with native species like birch and cottonwood.
There are also other weed pulls planned.
For more information go to www.weedwar.org.