A Bay Trail user stopped next to the section we were working on at our March 20 work party and asked Jane the following question: With so many weeds out there, how do you know which ones to pull first? Jane thinks that the question was really about the point of trying to bring the weed population under control when there are so many weeds. We think this way of thinking is at the heart of why, when we look around us, so many open spaces are covered in weeds and only a few local governments, park districts, and others put any real effort into controlling burgeoning weed populations. In the long run, ignoring this problem is only going to put more pressure on the diversity of our open spaces. We’ll return to this bigger question at a later date, but for the moment Jane’s response to the trail user is that we work in a sequence, going after those that mature first so that we can reduce the seed bank and minimize the number of weeds that appear in the years to come. We’ve managed to get the fennel and vinca under control, eliminated the ice plant, broom, and cape ivy, and are now working on oat grass, radish, and thistle.
To that end, at our work party in March our tried and true volunteers worked tirelessly to remove blooming radish and the oat grass that was just going to seed. Our youngest steward, Oliver, who came out on the day of his birthday party (he is turning 11 years old), weeded and wheelbarrowed them up to our weed pile by the entrance to the dog park. Steward Sue and core volunteers Nancy and Jacob cleaned an entire area of oat grass and radish in steward Nina’s spot and Nina’s beautiful and blooming purple needlegrass (Stipa pulchra) can now breathe freely.
We are encountering quite a number of newly emerging radish sprouts. Luckily, the one-inch radish seedlings are confined to just a few areas that we had recently cleared of radish plants. We know that our wonderful rains this winter are helping all the plants to grow and we’re hoping that by removing this second set of radish seedlings, we will encounter far fewer radish seedlings next winter.
If you have a chance please take a peek at Steward Margot’s Adopt-a-Spot area at the corner of Central Avenue and Rydin Road. It is covered in blooming California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and tansy leafed phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia). Margot’s purple needlegrass (Stipa pulchra) is also in full bloom, her lizard tail (Eriophyllum staechadifolium) is just starting to show its yellow flowers and the two coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia) from Native Here that we planted there this winter are thriving. Steward Rob keeps that area, and the trail, free of trash and we receive many expressions of appreciation for the transformation of a trash and weed covered corner to a place of beauty. In turn, we sincerely thank the City of Richmond (Greg Hardesty and crew) for the fantastic support they provide for us at this spot.
Our thanks also go to Bruce, our EBRPD ranger, who enthusiastically supports the project and all its volunteers.
Jane and Tom Kelly