Wrangle some weeds Saturday

Friday, March 2, 2018

An attack of invasive plants consumes Tennessee each year.

On Saturday, March 3, 2018, a state-wide event dedicated to eradicating non-native species known as invasive plants.

Henry Horton State Park will participate in this one day clean-up event. From 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers of all ages will congregate in efforts to clear out invasives along the scenic Duck River.

According to Park Ranger Shaun Rainone, Henry Horton State Park’s major problem is a plant Ailanthus altissima, commonly known as tree of heaven.

“The problem is these plants compete with the native species. The invasive plants steal the nutrients and sunlight the others need.

They take over, essentially. That’s how they got their name,” he said.

Last year, the park had a great turnout. At least 20 people volunteered and helped uproot the plants.

“The number of volunteers for each park differs because every park is different, and this year’s turnout will definitely depend on how the weather holds up,” Rainone said.

Volunteers will learn essential skills and practice maintaining an area free of harmful plants and replacing plants.

The park suggest that people should wear clothes they wouldn’t mind getting dirty and dress appropriate for the weather. The park will provide things such as water coolers, machinery and work gloves.

This event will be supervised by an expert in the invasive plant management field.

The weed wrangle will start Wilhoite Mill Trail Head parking lot and will take roughly three hours.

TN Promise students can use the event for credit toward service hours as well..

Each year, more and more the sites join the movement including all of Tennessee State Parks.

Middle Tennessee’s success has inspired other regions to participate in this event.

According to the Invasive Plant Control Inc., typical plants classified as invasive are: Typical unwelcome plants are honeysuckle ( Lonicera japonica and L. maackii ), winter creeper ( Euonymus fortunei ) and kudzu ( Pueraria montana var. lobata ). Invasive plants are also vines,

harmful trees and other flowering plants. These plants cause the risk of wildfires to increase, damage woodland areas and threaten wildlife habitats.

For more information on how to get involved, please visit tnstateparks.com and weedwrangle.org.