Invasive weeds: Time to go

Oak Hills Park and Norwalk River Watershed

A Norwalk DPW crew member first cleared brush, then chopped from the bottom to remove invasive Japanese Knotweed and other overgrowth at Oak Hills Park nature center area. (Contributed)
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A big thank-you to City of Norwalk Department of Public Works (DPW) for deploying a crew to Oak Hills Park to remove the overgrowth of invasive weeds in the nature center area. This will allow native plants to flourish, providing improved shelter and food for our wildlife.

This six-man DPW crew worked at the park on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 16-17, with equipment to chop down the lengthy stands of Japanese knotweed, mugwort, and multiflora rose (see photo examples), as well as sever existing vines that strangled trees in the woodland area.

They also expertly pruned the native trees planted in the nature center in 2016 as part of a city master plan.

The team in action: The Great Lawn Walking Path & Meadow area was ringed by Japanese Knotweed, a highly-prolific invasive. (Contributed)
Japanese Knotweed. (Contributed)
Close-up of Japanese Knotweed showing the leaf array which is easy to recognize. Leaves are large, approx. 3”-4”wide. (Contributed)
Many of the healthy old trees have been covered in Asian bittersweet vines, freed by DPW crew. (Contributed)
DPW brought in 6 men and large equipment to clear the large stands of invasive overgrowth. (Contributed)

This help from the city’s DPW is invaluable and appreciated. And, the best part is how polite, caring, and knowledgeable the crew members are. They have gone out of their way to understand the purpose of the nature center and care for it diligently during their time there. One crew member said they treat city properties as if they were their own home. Another crewman said he regularly talks to trees and wants them to thrive. In a valiant and gentle gesture, he saved a small box turtle in the underbrush which we then placed by the vernal pool in the woodlands.

Mugwort has a root system that spreads plants in a wide area. (Contributed)
Multiflora Rose has clusters of pretty white flowers and bush-like leaf array. Although pretty, they can cover an area quickly. (Contributed)
Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee chair Audrey Cozzarin and DPW’s Tristan Jack during the clean up on June 17. (Contributed)

And thank you to volunteers helping nip the knotweed and other invasives along the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) at Broad Street/Deering Pond, at Woodward Avenue Park, and at Oyster Shell Park.  The Norwalk River Watershed Association sponsors on-going invasive abatement at the parks and works with the NRVT trail organization at Broad Street.  New volunteers welcome. Visit https://norwalkriver.org/ for more information or e-mail [email protected].

For more about the nature center area at Oak Hills Park, visit: https://www.oakhillsgc.com/ and click on “Nature” in the nav bar at top.

Volunteers first cut the knotweed along the river at Broad Street (thank you, Luis Estrella and Cleaner CT Coalition, below) and then laid down cardboard and piled woodchips on top, using the “lasagna method” to smother the darn stuff. Hopefully. (Contributed)
Louise Washer, Norwalk River Watershed Association, Beth Merrill, Norwalk River Valley Trail, and Luis Estrella, Keep Norwalk Beautiful and Cleaner CT Coalition (as well as NRWA & NRVT) at Broad Street June 5 clearing knotweed along the soon-to-be connected trail system that hugs the river between Broad street and Route 126. (Contributed)
Troop 222 also helped remove invasives, mainly mugwort, along the NRVT at Broad Street on June 5 as part of Jack Murray’s Eagle Scout project. The team also planted native meadow flowers. (Contributed)
Nancy McClelland (right), shown with sidekicks Scott Follin and Luis Estrella, is chief volunteer organizer for NRWA. (Contributed)

Join the “weed warriors” at Oyster Shell Park every Wednesday and Saturday 9:30-11:30AM. Bring clippers, gloves, a water bottle, and energy to fight Australian phragmites, porcelain berry, knotweed, and mugwort!

If you see any of these weeds at your home, school, or workplace, please arrange to have it removed. Roll up your sleeves and help establish pollinator-friendly gardens in Norwalk.


Audrey Cozzarin, Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee

Louise Washer, Norwalk River Watershed Association


10 responses to “Invasive weeds: Time to go”

  1. Darren

    Any advice on how to deal with neighbors that grow invasive bamboo and won’t have it removed? Town Hall says it’s not their responsibility, but there are laws in CT prohibiting the growth (especially when it crosses property lines).

  2. DryAsABone

    Knotweed needs Roundup or digging rhizomes for years. Otherwise the removal is cosmetic only.

  3. Steve Mann

    Once again, Audrey to the rescue!!!

    I have a few acres of invasive vines should the need arise for practice!!

  4. Elsa Peterson Obuchowski

    Terrific work! I’m very thankful to our DPW for making this contribution to the beauty of Oak Hills Park — already one of Norwalk’s hidden gems!

  5. Andrea

    I appreciate you including pictures of the invasives. It certainly helps to be able to ID the ‘bad guys’. Thank you and great work DPW and volunteers!

  6. Tysen Canevari

    i saw them cleaning the edge of the river off perry avenue Not an easy task but they did a great job! Way to go

  7. Bravo to the Grounds Crew and DPW for making this a priority ! The tree choking vines in particular really bother me and I’m pleased that the City recognizes the importance and value of our amazing Parks & Open Space. It drives a new standard in quality of life and is a real draw relative to other coastal NY Metro cities.

    Bradford P. Craighead
    Norwalk Green Association

  8. steve

    Japanese knotweed is a bear to deal with. I’ve tried digging up the rhizomes ( as my now permanently damaged shoulder can attest too)-I’ve tried round up—the only thing that seems to work is to constantly cut it back- through mowing the area. You can’t get rid of it but can manage it

  9. Angela Carey

    Thank you to all who are continuing to carry the torch to decrease and someday eliminate evasive weeds! I’ve contributed to working on that mission at Oak Hills, but haven’t been able to participate recently!
    A HUGE THANKS YOU to Audrey Cozzrin for leading the charge on this most important front.. She is a gem in this city among many others who work towards saving the natural habitats that are so crucial to our wildlife! For without being hospitable to our wildlife we endanger ourselves!
    Lets keep fighting against the tides!!

  10. Yael

    Great job Audrey!! And all the weed warriors 💚💚💚🙏way to go!! I hope to come help you soon

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