Most gardeners in Ohio spend most of their time carefully cutting Filipendula ulmaria and Fagus sylvatica in their own nursery. Greg Torres, a gardener at Civic Garden, on the other hand, spends most of his days in the Cincinnati jungle, destroying plants. Torres is not like most gardeners, and he does not want to be. He admits, “Sometimes I regret having held the title,” and for good reason. Torres is actively reversing what many hardworking gardeners have brought to our local forests.
There are more than 40 invading species in Ohio, many of which are now busy extracting nutrients from local maps, oak and birch trees. Thanks to ornamental gardening, some plants that should be considered invasive are still legally purchased and sold in Cincinnati. English Ivy is one of these plants.
The English Ivy’s habit of covering our trees with grass is beautiful, but deceptive is dangerous. English Ivy has deep roots that allow it to gradually penetrate forested areas and make our most important ecosystem imperial. The small red berries they produce are eventually eaten by birds that propagate their growth.
“This is what happens – whether it’s in a graveyard or in someone’s backyard, bought in a nursery by any means, it’s growing,” Torres said. “These are planted in people’s gardens, for example, and maybe your yard is near the forest, well, you might be a big gardener. And for 50 years you have been caring for and ensuring Ivy. He will not enter the forest. Or maybe you are a bad gardener. And once they are planted in the garden, they never think about it and it enters the forest without your knowledge.
Once you notice the English Ivy, you see it everywhere, and the damage is obvious. English Ivy creates ground cover on the forest floor, otherwise it absorbs sunlight and water, which gives new plant life. Large plants do not survive Ivy. Indicative roots penetrate the trunks of young trees that make large holes in the tree that can expose them to bacteria or fungi. When the English Ivy climbs trees, it forces the first leaves to fight off the sun. Most trees lose this battle, reacting to the chain of winter – the first tree loses its leaves, the English ivy stays in the winter and the iris catches snow and wind, which, according to Torres, falls to the ground. “It simply came to our notice then.
According to Torres, without “ecological” gardeners working, Ohio’s invasive species could completely take over the local forests. It already exists in some areas. Areas flooded in English are known to environmentalists as Ivy deserts, and they can become a reality without deciding to eradicate invasive species.
According to Sam Settlemyre, volunteer coordinator at Civic Paradise Center, the best way to do that is to draw volunteers. “One, we want to introduce them [the outdoors] And make them happy about it. But then we want them to take the trees home and do things that will make them more involved with us, ”said Settlemyre.
Having a strong group of volunteers will benefit both the civic garden center and the local community.
He said that we are almost entirely dependent on volunteers to do this work. So to provide a good volunteer experience for all, if there are a lot of people, we have enough equipment, we plan how to attack the day, we just have other basic things like food and snacks. Although it may seem overwhelming, it goes a long way in ensuring that people return. And when people come back, they start building that foundation of knowledge. And then we start doing more.
The more volunteers work, the more they can make a difference in the local forests, and volunteers will benefit from that experience.
“People have a meaningful experience [volunteers] You can learn a lot by doing this kind of work and it will be easy for you to do it, ”said Settlemyre.
Volunteering is more than just spending an hour. It is a complete lifestyle change that affects the health of our forests. When people promise to defile their volunteer work, they become better aware of how they can make a difference in our environment and in our lives. With no experience, amateur environmentalists are forced to do backup work. Jumping worms are a prime example of these failed attempts, Torres said.
Jumping worms can be easily downloaded from the internet and used to break down fertilizers. Although they are very good at breaking down organic fertilizers, those same skills can damage forests when they travel to our green spaces.
“From there, they gradually invade forests, eating up and breaking down many leaves,” says Torres. They quickly break down the leaflets, depleting the organic matter in the soil, and eating the leaves that were eaten by other creatures in the forest. They are reducing the amount of soil in the forest. And in general, drying out the forest soil that harms the tree. There are many consequences to simply introducing a body to a new environment.
Real experience with nature encourages people to make informed decisions before they move on to the new fashion. It teaches them to connect with the interesting plants that already exist in our ecosystem rather than those that are invasive.
“Yes, that’s the way to connect,” said Torres. “That’s the same magic. Why do I care about this? This tree is a sugar map here. [People think] ‘Who cares,’ right? But like, if you like maple syrup on your pancakes and there is no other flavor in the world, you want to keep that tree. [You have to] Reconnect to that person. That’s why I use the senses a lot. Smell it, taste it, rub it on your skin type. Because these things penetrate deep into your brain, they are intrinsic.