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'Tis the season for weeding out non-native plants

Kingswood Volunteers 5.jpg
Ohio River Foundation
Unidentified volunteers tackle non-native plants in Kingswood Park.

For some, springtime means planting. For others, it means removing plants. Volunteers tackled a persistent problem at a Deerfield Township park last weekend. The Ohio River Foundation and township employees removed invasive species from Kingswood Park. Foundation Director Rich Cogen says for more than 30 years, honeysuckle and Callery Pear, also known as Bradford Pear trees, had plenty of room to grow.

"These invasive species do not have any natural predators in this hemisphere. So when they're introduced into our environment, they just overwhelm a site and outcompete the native species." Cogen says if native species lose out, so do the pollinators that rely on them, and that has far-ranging effects.

Cogan says the Ohio River Foundation has been trying to remove non-native plants like honeysuckle and Callery Pear trees since 2011.

"Honeysuckle, just as an example, was first introduced into the United States, I think in 1896," he says. "While it's taken a long time for it to colonize and populate areas all the way up here, it's been an ongoing battle."

Ohio River Foundation
An unidentified volunteer tackles invasive species at Deerfield Township's Kingswood Park.

Cogen says they're also reseeding to help the native plants. "In spaces where species are being removed, the native fauna is then going into those areas, so to speak, and populating and colonizing those spaces."

Cogan says the fight goes on, but he's optimistic. He says more people are showing interest, and Ohio lawmakers have also helped with legislation banning the sale of some invasive species.

Great Parks of Hamilton County plans a similar county-wide operation this coming weekend.