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Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 03, 2006
No. 11
www.nyc.gov/parks

Invasive Weeds Pose Threat To New York City Parks

Invasive plants threaten our native ecosystems, and today, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe issued a plea to New Yorkers to take greater care in planting non-native species in their gardens. He was joined in Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery by Central Park Conservancy President Doug Blonsky, Brooklyn Botanic Garden Vice President Dr. Steve Clemants, and volunteer members of the Parks’ Green Apple Corps.

"These invasive species threaten our City’s biodiversity, reduce the quality of habitat for the millions of birds and animals that call our city home, and in some instances, disrupt the natural regenerative cycles of our forests, turning them into old-age homes for trees," said Commissioner Benepe. "We urge all New York City gardeners, whenever possible, to use only non-invasive species in their landscaping and gardens."

"The harm from invasive species is real," said Dr. Seven Clemants. "Invasive species have caused millions of dollars of ecological and economic damage in the state. The New York Invasive Species Taskforce identified several ways to combat this growing problem, including increased funds for invasive species, an invasive species management plan, as well as improved coordination among government and the private sector."

"The harm from invasive species is real," said Dr. Seven Clemants. "Invasive species have caused millions of dollars of ecological and economic damage in the state. The New York Invasive Species Taskforce identified several ways to combat this growing problem, including increased funds for invasive species, an invasive species management plan, as well as improved coordination among government and the private sector."

February 26 through March 3 is National Invasive Weed Awareness Week, sponsored by the Invasive Weed Awareness Coalition, the purpose of which is to manage invasive weeds in the United States and protect our native ecosystems.

There are numerous examples of these plants in the New York City. The Norway maple is a graceful and durable street tree, but if planted near a natural area, its seedlings soon start to displace seedlings of native trees. A mature Norway maple forest has virtually no understory to hold the soil, causing severe erosion problems. Oriental bittersweet, planted for its beautiful orange berries, can be seen girdling trees along every major parkway in the city, and in the woods this vine can and does kill large 100 year old trees. Even kudzu, the famous vine that ate the south, is starting to show up in spots here in the City.

"Invasive weeds are one of Central Park’s most dangerous predators," says Doug Blonsky, President, Central Park Conservancy. "Our beautiful native trees and plants are suffering and we must not allow invasive weeds to threaten their existence."

Other invasive species that are now listed on the Parks Department’s "Do Not Plant" List include the Norway maple; tree of heaven; European alder; paper mulberry; white mulberry; empress tree; Japanese black pine; sweet cherry tree; black locust tree; the weeping willow; wisteria; porcelain berry; mugwort; Queen Anne’s lace; yellow iris; water chestnut; silver hairgrass; and yellow floating heart.

The Parks Department is affiliated with the Long Island Weed Management Area (LIWMA), whose members include The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service, Nassau County Parks, Suffolk County Parks, Brookhaven Lab, NY State Parks, Ducks Unlimited, and North Shore Audubon.

See the Parks Department's "Do Not Plant" List of invasive plants

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