The Saturday morning drizzle did nothing to deter Cub Scout Pack 331 from their goal of cleaning out a large area of invasive English ivy that had taken over much of Edmonds’ Maplewood Park.
Joined by parents, scout leaders and assorted family members, the crew yanked, pulled, ripped and otherwise decimated a large stand of the invasive vine, otherwise known as Hedera helix, clearing the way for subsequent plantings of native species.
“This is a great service project for us,” explained scout leader Steve Ross, who organized the event.
And it’s a big help to the City of Edmonds in its mission to maintain its many neighborhood parks.
“It’s a constant battle to keep the English ivy from completely taking over,” said City of Edmonds horticulturalist Jesse Curran, who went on to explain how this invasive vine got here and why it’s become such a problem.
“Early in the last century when many homes were built in this area, English gardens were all the rage,” he said. “This prompted many folks to plant non-native species like yew, holly and of course English ivy. Since our climate is so similar to the British Isles, these plants flourished. Ivy was particularly favored because it grows quickly to cover large areas, doesn’t need much light, and once established requires virtually no care.”
Curran explained how the small berries it produces are particularly favored by birds. The birds eat them, fly away and deposit the seeds wherever they go — like our city parks, where the ivy quickly became established and easily choked out many native species.
“We’ll probably never get rid of it,” he said, “but with help from groups like Pack 331 we can at least keep it at bay.”
Cub Scout Pack 331 is sponsored by Lynnwood VFW Post 1040.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel