Identify and remove invasive plants in Sligo to allow native plants and wildlife to thrive.
Removing Invasive Plants
Twenty years from now we can have ten alien plant species covering much of the Park, or we can have our 372 native plants thriving in impressive variety!
Why Remove Invasive Plants?
We are in the process of losing the Park to non-native, invasive plants. Most of these plants were brought into this country intentionally as ornamentals. These plants found a good environment to grow and reproduce with few, if any, predators or diseases. Most grow far faster than native species and out-compete them.
RIP volunteers removing wavy leaf basketgrass near Kemp Mill in northern Sligo.
The RIP Program (Removing Invasive Plants) was formed to control and remove these unwanted plants. Since RIP’s inception in 2004, most non-native invasive vines been removed from mature trees in our Park. Many non-native shrubs have also been removed so native shrubs can be reintroduced either by planting or natural seed dispersal. The Resources on Invasive Plants page has detailed information on common invasives that have migrated into Sligo Creek Park, typically from yards and landscaping.
Though a constant effort, invasive removal work is showing progress. There are fewer non-native plants in some parts of the park now and new growth of native species. No doubt climate change will bring to the Park some new species native to the southern states, but these will also bring their predators.
In Partnership: Weed Warriors
Jim Anderson, Weed Warrior Supervisor, longtime Invasives/RIP Committee chair, and former FOSC Board member, was featured in a May 2021 Voice of America video. Jim shows the extent of invasive plant Lesser Celandine in just one section of Sligo and urges people to become certified Weed Warriors to give native plants a chance to get reestablished and rebuild the ecosystem.
Since 2004, Friends of Sligo Creek has partnered with the Montgomery County Parks Department on a non-native invasive plant removal program. Called Weed Warriors,Montgomery Parks developed the program to provide training, advice and support for removing non-native plants. Weed Warrior Supervisors lead Sligo volunteers in the removal of non-native invasive plants from the Park. We’d love to have you join in. Upcoming events are posted under Events.
Weed Warrior training is conducted by Montgomery Parks. With Weed Warrior certification you can obtain Park approval to work on your own in addition to organized events. To find out about on-line training, visit the Parks Dept Weed Warrior webpage or email the Weed Warrior program at: [email protected]
Weed Warriors at Work Summer 2021
Photos courtesy of Ed Murtagh and Christine Dunathan
Weed Warriors Walter Mulbry and Barbara Francisco wrestling a bush honeysuckle plant from the hill south of the Long Branch Library in Section 10.
A happy Weed Warrior after liberating the sapling from some overpowering vines.
Photos courtesy of Montgomery Parks
Invasives/RIP Committee: Open to All
Friends of Sligo Creek has divided the watershed into sections, which allows individuals to get involved in activities in their own neighborhoods. Each section has a Sligo RIP leader who coordinates RIP activities in their section.
RIP is in need of Weed Warriors willing to adopt specific areas in the Park that have been ‘cleared’ of one or more invasive plants to monitor and make sure these plants don’t come back.
Become a part of your RIP team! Contact the Invasives/RIP Committee Chairperson Walter Mulbry at [email protected] or through the Contact Form on the Contact page.
Volunteer at RIP events to remove invasive plants
Learn to identify invasive plants and ways to remove them
Become a Weed Warrior and help to monitor an area that was cleared of invasives
Share your experience with others through our newsletter
Encourage friends and neighbors to volunteer at a RIP event
Remove invasive plants from your yard and encourage your neighbors to do so as well to keep them from spreading