Invasive Plant Program Update


Lesser Celandine. Source.

Lesser Celandine Treatments

This spring the County’s contractor, Invasive Plant Control, Inc. (IPC), will continue treatment for invasive plants in several parks.  Starting in March, they will focus on treating Lesser Celandine in the short two-week window just before and at the start of flowering.  IPC will be treating Lesser Celandine at several Natural Resource Conservation Areas, such as sections of Gulf Branch Park, Barcroft Park, Donaldson Run Park and Glencarlyn Park.  The recommended treatment method for Lesser Celandine is a foliar application of a Glyphosate-based herbicide with a water-safe surfactant so that the herbicide will stick to and penetrate the leaves of the plant.  The best time to treat Lesser Celandine is early in the season, before other desirable plant species such as our native spring wildflowers are present. Lesser celandine is very difficult to control with chemical free methods due to its plant structure and growing habits.  Pulling or digging is not effective for large populations because of the level of soil disturbance it would cause, which in some cases can lead to reinvasion by another non-native plant species. Pulling is also not very effective because the root structures are small tubers that can easily break off and grow into new plants.  Smothering Lesser Celandine with mulch or black plastic also presents problems when the infestation is large and dense as well as when it is more sporadic and mixed in with beneficial native plants including delicate spring ephemerals such as spring beauties.

New Chemical Free Treatment Method

Arlington Parks and Natural Resources staff has piloted a new product for the treatment of invasive shrub species, call the “Buckthorn Baggie.”  Although this product was designed to treat Buckthorn, an invasive shrub in the Midwest, Arlington’s pilot project targets an infestation of Lonicera maackii, or Amur bush honeysuckle, a multi-stemmed invasive shrub that is common in our area.  The stems of the bush honeysuckle were cut 6 inches from the ground and the plastic Buckthorn Baggie was secured to the stem.  Hopefully, the strong, dark plastic will inhibit regrowth of the bush honeysuckle within one growing season.  If this pilot project is successful, the Invasive Plant Program will be doing many more projects using this chemical free method for treating invasive plants.

Volunteer Opportunities


Please join one of our regularly occurring Remove Invasive Plants Volunteer Events, located throughout the county.  This spring, many sites will be focused on removing Garlic Mustard. Garlic Mustard is a common invasive plant that is easily identified and hand pulled in the spring. Please contact Sarah Archer at 703-228-1862 for more opportunities to volunteer.