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, along neighborhood streets and streams, and in local parks. 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 smother trees at their base and when it reaches up into the tree's canopy, the added weight leaves the possibility of toppling the tree in a storm or when the tree is covered with 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 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 typically loppers and pruners are needed to remove the vines. The older ivy vines can be quite large and thick 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?

The dates for upcoming work days can be found on the City calendar for fall and spring work days. For fall of 2022, the dates are September 10, October 1, and October 15.  

Age restrictions are as follows: 

  • Children under 14 years of age must be under the direct supervision 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 large hand tools; they may use gloves and bags and work on the ground cover. 

We do have to limit the number of volunteers to 30 per workday so you must register to join us. Email the City's Sustainability Planner, Ashleigh Diaz, to register (or call 301-809-3044).

Do I have to bring anything?

You'll need to dress appropriately, meaning long-sleeved shirts and pants with closed-toe shoes or boots and socks. You may want to wear a hat to cover your head. Please bring the release form and water! The City will provide the on-site tools and training. 

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!