Land | Ecotrope

Ivy Pulled From Forest Park Is Growing Back

Ecotrope | Nov. 30, 2012 3:19 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:28 p.m.

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The NW Examiner reports that efforts to eliminate invasive English ivy from Forest Park are slow going.

The head of the Portland Parks Bureau reportedly suggested to the Neighbors West/Northwest coalition that efforts to pull ivy haven’t worked as well as using herbicides to eliminate it on parks property:

“We’re spending lots of time pulling ivy; two years later it returns,” said Michael Abbate, who has headed the bureau since 2011.

The article also quotes Mike Houck, executive director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, saying:

“Chemical applications judiciously and safely used by professional vegetation experts is the only way to control English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and other invasive species.”

As the Oregon Field Guide story above explains, English ivy chokes out native plants and can take over entire sections of the forest, swallowing trees and covering the ground.

Some claim pulling the ivy doesn’t work at all and is a waste of time. Others say it can work, but isn’t enough in an area as large as Forest Park. Hand pulling the plants often leaves root material that can re-sprout, and it disturbs the soil, which can cause erosion.

Using chemicals to remove invasive species can have impacts, too, if the chemicals kill native plants or run off into waterways, where they can harm fish and wildlife.

But it is a lot faster than pulling the weeds by hand.

“Many people have done some great work over the years,” the Abbate told The Examiner of the efforts to hand-pull ivy, “…we want to keep it up, but I’m also interested in how we achieve complete success here.”

I’m curious about whether this means the parks bureau will consider using chemicals on invasive plants in Forest Park. Would you support using chemicals to treat invasive species on parks property?

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