We recently had the opportunity to remove poison ivy and perform woodland restoration at Glenwood Lake Park in the City of New Rochelle.
Keeping the park green and healthy for residents is a major priority for the community. It’s a mini-nature preserve covering about six acres, and the 60-foot deep lake serves as a destination for ducks, herons, swans, and other birds. The lake feeds into the Huntington River and eventually the Long Island Sound, and the park also features a wood chip trail that’s maintained by local Eagle and Girl Scout troops.
A typical day at the park means seeing lots of people walking dogs, jogging, and even fishing. It’s a popular space for the dense surrounding community, but it’s also ecologically stressed.
“The park is used by a lot of people, and it helps maintain our sanity in a crazy world,” says Michael Yellin, the Chair of the Glenwood Lake Association. “But last year, the park was overgrown with poison ivy, particularly around the trail system. Many members of the community, particularly the children in the elementary school, could not use the park for fear of getting poison ivy.”
After getting the city’s approval to match some of the association’s funds to address the problem, Yellin began looking for landscaping partners.
“Any solution that involved pesticides or chemicals was not an option, he says. “Even though the lake is a relatively small body of water, we want to do everything possible to improve water quality and not contribute to pollution. Some people do some fishing there, and it’s great for enjoying the peace and solitude of fishing. It provides life lessons for younger people to understand the importance of engaging with nature and protecting our natural resources.”
“The organic options that we found were very few and that led us to John at Poison Ivy Patrol,” says Michael.
After taking a look, we noted that it’s a really high-trafficked area, very sensitive, and not very healthy. We took care of the safety issue of removing the poison ivy, but as is often the case, there were a number of other invasives in the area that needed to be addressed long-term. Without addressing the long-term health of the wooded area, there won’t be any defense against poison ivy coming back again and again.
“We were very satisfied with the work that John and his crew did,” says Michael. “We decided to engage with them more this spring as a follow-up to what was done in the fall.”
The follow-up is a service that we call Woodland Restoration. It involves the removal of other non-native, invasive plants, shaping and pruning the remaining native plants and trees, and managing the return of sunlight and water resources to the area to allow for a more sustainable, healthy ecosystem.
Here are some of the invasives that we’re addressing this year at the park:
Grape Vine and Bittersweet
The first step this spring has been to remove invasive vines to keep the remaining trees alive. If the park’s trees died, the micro-ecosystem would be devastated. The trees have been choked by both grape and bittersweet vines.
Grape vine is probably the most common invasive we see here in the Hudson Valley. They hang off of branches, stealing sunlight, water and weighing trees down. If left unchecked, grape vine can pull entire trees down.
The trees also had spiraling bittersweet vines, which choke trees around their trunks. You can read more about them here.
Multiflora Rose and Barberry
The grounds are covered in multiflora rose; while it’s pleasant to look at, and even smells nice, it can easily take over areas with disturbed or unhealthy soil. Finding and digging up the roots is very resource intensive, so we have to take a strategic approach to removing areas of the rose and preventing it from aggressively growing back.
The other ground-bound invasive is barberry, which grows into a dense, thorny shrub that can get up to six or eight feet high. It leafs out early in the spring, and its spiky thickets of branches crowd out native plants and provide shelter for brown field mice, who are known for carrying tickets and Lyme disease. The best time to remove barberry is in the late summer or early fall, before its berries appear, to stop the cycle of reproduction.
Do you have poison ivy on your property, and want to have it removed without the use of chemicals, pesticides, or poisons? Learn about our services!