Whitemarsh Park Weed Warriors
What is a Weed Warrior?
A Weed Warrior is a volunteer who works alongside members of the City's Green Team to stop the assault on our forests by the non-native, invasive, English Ivy vine. This volunteer program began in July 2013, and meets in fall and spring months on Saturdays to remove English Ivy from trees.
What is English ivy, and why have a special program for it?
Everyone has probably seen English ivy on trees in their yards or their neighbors' yards, along neighborhood streets and streams, and in local parks like this tree (right) at Whitemarsh Park. Odds are that it was not planted there. As an invasive, non-native plant, English ivy spreads quickly and easily, and is very destructive to native ecosystems. It can strangle trees at their base, and when it reaches up into the tree's canopy, the added weight can easily topple the tree in a storm, particularly when the tree is also covered in snow.
But I don't know how to cut English ivy vines!
A quick summary of the process is that you cut the ivy at eye-level and foot-level then carefully pull the vine from the tree between the cuts and remove the ground cover back about two feet from the base of the tree. The ivy above eye level will eventually die off and fall from the tree.
This process takes a lot of elbow grease, and sometimes loppers and pruners are needed to remove vines from trees. The older ivy vines can be quite large (as much as 2-3 inches across or more) and may require intervention from a team leader using a hand saw to remove the vine.
Once the ivy is removed, it is bagged and sent to the landfill. All non-native, invasive plants should be disposed of in the trash and not composted.
Okay, I'm in! When is it and how do I sign up?
Age restrictions are as follows:
Children under 14 years of age must be under the direct accompaniment of a parent/guardian at all times. This means the parent must participate in the Weed Warrior Workday with the child.
No volunteers under age 16 can use tools; they may use gloves and bags and work on the ground cover.
We do have to limit the number of volunteers to 25 so we can accommodate based on the availability of tools, so you must register to join us. Email the City's Sustainability Planner, Ashleigh Armentrout, to register (or call 301-809-3044).
When are we working?
The dates for upcoming work days can be found on the Weed Warrior Schedule.
Do I have to bring anything?
You'll need to dress appropriately, meaning long-sleeved shirts and pants with closed-toe shoes or boots. You may want to wear a hat or ball cap to cover your head. Please bring the release form and water! The City will provide everything else. That includes gloves, water, tools, insect and poison ivy repellent, and bags.
Is there anything else I should know?
Because we are in a forest setting, there is the potential for ticks, stinging insects and poison ivy. If you are allergic to bees or wasps and have an EpiPen, please be sure to have it with you when you come!