Fighting Invaders in Memorial Park

Green monsters are invading a section of Houston. Rod Rice reports that some HISD students are volunteering to battle them.
The culprits are non-native invasive plants in Memorial Park.

"We're at sort of an epidemic level with some of these landscape plants that continue to escape out into the wild such as Chinese Privet and Japanese Ligustrum."

Eric Ruckstuhl is with Bayou Preservation Association. He says the problem with the invasive plants is that they can be poisonous to some wildlife and crowd out the native plants.

The Houston Independent School District (HISD) students will be combing the park through Thursday from 10-to-2 ready to cut down or pull up the invaders. Yolanda Cruz from Eastwood Academy says they'll have help identifying what plants to remove.

"The ones that have the orange dot and the ones that they showed us in the binder that's in there. They showed us some kinds of examples."

Eric Ruckstuhl says the cutting down privet or ligustrum is only the first step.

"Someone follows along later when everyone's out of the way with an herbicide mix and they'll go ahead and just spray the stump."

The volunteers will not just remove the offenders, they'll keep track of the number of plants and their size.

This is the first time for this project but their are plans to do it again in the fall.
Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...