December Feature: The Benefits Of Invasive Brush Removal
As the ground freezes and plants go dormant in the winter, District restoration workday volunteers, site stewards and crews start to conduct selective removal of invasive and exotic brush. Invasive shrubs, such as European buckthorn and honeysuckle, produce dense clumps of leaves that sprout earlier in the spring and drop later in the fall than those of native plants. Their impenetrable canopy keeps sun and water from reaching the wildflowers and oak seedlings that grow below.
Brush also steals water and nutrients from native plants. As a result, the variety and health of plant and animal communities that live there declines.
Selective removal work is typically done in woodlands and involves crews cutting down selected invasive trees and shrubs and burning the resulting brush piles on site. Herbicide is carefully applied to the cut stumps so the plants cannot grow back. Work is done during the cold months to protect any dormant plants from damage.
Removal of invasive brush and reintroduction of native plants has noticeably improved populations of butterflies and birds.
Click here to see a gallery of before and after photos documenting the value of a cleared landscape.
Come out and lend a hand at one of the Forest Preserve District’s restoration workdays. For more information about District’s volunteer monitoring programs, see the Natural Resource Management Volunteer Program page.
For more information about District’s volunteer monitoring programs, see the Natural Resource Management Volunteer Program page.