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South Hill Recreation Way – Invasive Plant Removal & Native Replanting

posted Oct 28, 2019, 10:31 AM by Town of Ithaca   [ updated Oct 28, 2019, 10:33 AM ]

This fall and winter, the Town of Ithaca will be implementing a program to remove invasive plant species along the South Hill Recreation Way. Thanks to funding from the 2018 Urban and Community Forestry Grants Program, administered by the NYS DEC, Town staff and hired specialists will be cutting down woody invasive plants along the South Hill Recreation Way and treating the stumps with an herbicide. Approximately 15 feet on each side of the trail will be cleared of invasive species. Following the removal and treatment of the invasives, the area will be replanted with native trees and shrubs to help prevent the invasive plants from returning. While this project is taking place, there may be fewer plants between the trail and adjacent properties prior to the planting of native plants, and trail users may experience a large amount of dead woody vegetation left to decay along the trail.


We are undertaking this project because invasive species have become well established along most of the trail and have altered the native ecosystem in the area. The invasive plants have spread quickly, displacing the native plants and preventing new native plants from growing. This creates a monoculture of invasives that do not provide food or habitat for native wildlife. Replacing the invasive species with native trees and shrubs promotes biodiversity, provides shelter and food (nectar, pollen, seeds, nuts, leaves, etc.) for wildlife, and supports pollinators.


The invasives being removed include Honeysuckle, Common Buckthorn, Tree of Heaven, Oriental Bittersweet, Multi-Flora Rose, Autumn Olive, Common Privet, Japanese Barberry, and Norway Maple. Photos of some of these species are included below. Removal of the Tree of Heaven is especially important as it will reduce host sites for the Spotted lanternfly.


These invasive species will be replaced with native trees and shrubs such as Sugar Maple, American Sycamore, White/Red Oak, American Chestnut, Silky Dogwood, Black Elderberry, Persimmon, Bitternut Hickory, Bur Oak, Arrowwood Viburnum, Bayberry, Nannyberry, Fragrant Sumac, and American Basswood.


We plan to begin work on this project on November 4, 2019. If you have questions or concerns about this project, please contact Michael Smith or Joseph Talbut at the Town of Ithaca at the email addresses or phone numbers listed below. The contractor will also be available to answer questions throughout the duration of the project. Thank you for your patience as we make improvements to the South Hill Recreation Way.



Michael Smith

Senior Planner


(607) 273-1747 x123


Joseph Talbut

Parks Maintenance Manager


(607) 273-1656 x222