Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Help Save the Trees — Vine Day at Cool Valley Preserve this Saturday, December 10

Honeysuckle, choking a tree.

Save the Trees!

The Chester County Open Land Conservancy volunteers continue to wage their battle against the invasive vines that are strangling the trees in the Nature Preserves . . . and could use some help on Saturday.

Open Land Conservancy will once again be holding its series of winter “Vine Days” to continue our successful campaign against the invasive vegetation that limits development of the tree canopy layer in our Nature Preserves.

This is a great opportunity to get some fresh air, work with some of your neighbors and make a lasting impact on the Nature Preserves. Saturday, December 10, beginning at 9 AM is the Cool Valley Preserve ‘Vine Day’. Although the volunteers generally work 3-4 hours, any help that you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

Volunteers get out in the fresh air, take a mid-morning hot chocolate break and enjoy the companionship of like-minded neighbors. All that’s needed are protective clothing, gloves and, if you have them, tools such as loppers, pruners and hand saws to supplement OLC’s supply.

Volunteers are asked to meet in the Cool Valley Preserve entrance at 9 AM.

Any questions, contact Ray Clarke, 610-578-0358.

Directions to Cool Valley Preserve: Off Swedesford Road turn into Shadow Oak Drive. Follow to the end (circle). Turn left at circle one block to Cool Valley Road and turn right to Preserve entrance.

Preserving Open Space in our Community –

Help Save the Trees!


For further information on Open Land Conservancy, click here for their website.

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  1. funny thought but where is the “vine lobby” to defend the rights of the vines to grow and prosper? Aren’t they are part of “nature” too?

    1. That’s really a good thought!

      Back in the day, a nature preserve could be left to its own devices and natural succession would ensure a rich habitat for all kinds of vegetation and wildlife. Unfortunately humans interfered! So now it turns out that many species introduced accidentally or deliberately from overseas or from other US regions have advantages that allow them to prosper here at the expense of the native species.

      All may coexist for a while, but eventually, vines will bring down and kill the trees. There’s a good example of the resulting homogeneous, scrubby thicket in the Cool Valley Preserve where we were working on Saturday. OLC’s 2012 solution there will be to clear completely and plant with native oaks, maples, etc., as was done this year in the Lorimer Preserve, with the help of OLC’s corporate partners from Siemens Medical and Vanguard.

      Fortunately it’s a little easier for OLC to deal with its immigration and wealth distribution problem than it is for society at large! OLC does depend, though, on the help of volunteers, and we are immensely grateful to all, young and old, residents and township officials, that came out on Saturday.

    1. The vines were probably not actively planted in the OLC preserves.

      One other “invasive” was, though. The commonwealth promoted the use of the thorny multi-flora rose as a cattle fence; now that shrub has a symbiotic relationship with the vines: it serves as a dense trellis to lever them up into the trees and as a vicious defense against our volunteers trying to get to their root.

      Invasive vines such as bittersweet and mile-a-minute likely stowed away in cargo shipments from Asia, then promulgated successfully through their natural advantages here. Bittersweet was planted in some places – it has long lasting colorful berries and can be woven into decorations.

      Deer and storm water are major vectors for the spread of these undesirables. That’s one reason why I’m encouraged by Valley Forge Park’s deer management and by the Township’s stormwater ordinance and the related stormwater management that is coming with the Turnpike expansion.

  2. I think it was during the Clinton years when there was a ruckus from environmental folks whoever they are about thinning the underbrush from forested areas. the science and fire prevention/limitation aspects which spoke to the need for this aside, the environmental protesters were against such a maneuver.

    So maybe it is good to clean out underbrush for this reason too. Also, ever see what ivy does to pointing in brick houses?


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