Park cleanup removes invasive buckthorn

By: Linda Shepard | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 14, 2019

 Berkley resident Tom Leeper, and Beverly Hills residents Charlie Seidel and Hohn Cook remove invasive buckthorn plants, many of which are more than 40 years old.

Berkley resident Tom Leeper, and Beverly Hills residents Charlie Seidel and Hohn Cook remove invasive buckthorn plants, many of which are more than 40 years old.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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BEVERLY HILLS — Volunteers battled mud and cloudy skies to clear invasive plants May 11 in Beverly Park.

“We are getting rid of buckthorn,” Beverly Hills Village Councilwoman Rachel Hrydziuszko said. “We want it cleaned up for the Memorial Day parade and for new tree plantings.”

According to Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials, buckthorn is native to Eurasia and was introduced to North America in the 1880s as an ornamental plant.

Buckthorn spreads rapidly, replacing native vegetation and lowering species diversity. Like many non-native shrubs, common buckthorn leafs out early in spring and retains its leaves late into fall, shading out spring wildflowers and tree seedlings.

According to Beverly Hills Village Councilman Phillip Mueller, once the buckthorn is cleared from the park, a variety of new trees will be planted.

“We’ll put in redbuds and evergreens, four or five different species,” he said.

The tree planting is targeted for May 20, depending on the weather, and is funded by a $1,500 DTE Energy grant and a local match.

“The grant stipulates planting by May 31,” Mueller said.

Approximately 15 trees, each with a 2- or 3-inch diameter, will be planted.

“Large enough so the deer won’t bother them,” Mueller said.

Beverly Park is a 340-acre park located off of Beverly Road, west of Southfield Road. It features a wooded natural area with trails for biking and hiking, along with a variety of seasonal outdoor recreation opportunities.

Jason’s Outdoor Services has donated crews and equipment for the effort. Mueller said environmental experts said the Beverly Park buckthorn infestation was one of the largest they had seen, and some of the plants were more than 40 years old.

“But we are thrilled to see there are still a good amount of hardwoods here,” he said about the park’s woods.

The invasive plant clearing effort will continue in the park for the next several years, to make sure new buckthorn seedlings are eradicated.

“We will get it out of here,” Mueller said. “We are excited to get it done.”

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