Facilities and Parks Services tackle invasive plant species

Release date: 11/13/2018
Sponsored by: Support Services Department, Facilities and Parks Services Division

Invasive English holly tree removed from Courthouse grounds

Invasive plants can spread quickly and if left unchecked, can have a devastating and costly impact on the ecosystem, infrastructure, human health and natural resources within the community. Washington County Facilities and Parks Services works to maintain County-owned properties in various locations and are engaged in an ongoing effort to combat invasive plant species.

English holly tree removal English holly tree after removal

On Saturday, November 10, an invasive English holly tree was removed from the Courthouse grounds as part of an eradication plan to control noxious plants. According to Grounds Supervisor Neil Roberts, the general understanding of the threat of these types of plants has evolved over time. "Like most invasive plant species, English holly was originally brought to North America for its easy-to-grow and attractive attributes in landscapes. The plant has long been grown commercially for holiday decorations but has become known more recently as a serious invasive due to the widespread distribution of the berries by birds and for its adaptability to shady or sunny conditions," said Roberts.

The holly tree was located just west of the six giant sequoia trees on the southern side of the Courthouse. The sequoias are considered "heritage trees" and represent an important legacy of local pioneers who planted the seedlings from cones in 1880. Although the holly tree was not a serious threat to the sequoia trees, it was beginning to encroach on their canopy and compete for water, sun and nutrients. According to Roberts, "We're more aware than ever of the need to remove invasive plants to preserve the landscape and protect the surrounding community from their spread. Eradication of invasive species has become a regular part of our grounds maintenance routine, and one that we are proud of."

For homeowners and property managers also grappling with this challenge, Roberts offers a few recommendations to links with information on identifying invasive plants and how to best remove them. Also included is a link to an online "hotline" which is available to report invasive plants when they are identified in public spaces.

Washington County Facilities and Parks Services is a division of the Department of Support Services whose mission is to provide innovative, excellent and cost-effective services that support County operations and administration, which in turn contribute to a healthy, safe and sustainable community for Washington County residents.

Media Contact:

Julie McCloud, Public Affairs & Communications Coordinator