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Planting Natives in Dyke Marsh

Melissa Westbrook Melissa Westbrook, horticulturalist for the George Washington Memorial Parkway, led the team.

On a damp, overcast, 55-degree morning, eight volunteers and two National Park Service staffers planted 50 native shrubs and trees along the Haul Road in Dyke Marsh in the section of the wetland between the “dogleg” and the boardwalk.   Most of the plants are facultative, meaning edge plants or plants that grow in wetlands but can survive in non-wetlands.

Many of the plants put in that day support birds, insects and other native wildlife.  Examples:  winterberry (Ilex verticillata); Eastern red cedar (Juniper virginiana); sycamore (Plantanus occidentalis); silver maple (Acer sacharinum); red maple (Acer rubra); black willow (Salix nigra); silky dogwood (Cornus amomum); Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica); and hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).  Thank you, NPSers Melissa Westbrook and Chris Acosta.  Thank you, volunteers:  Glenda Booth, Larry Cartwright, Greg Crider, Patty McCarthy, Dorothy McManus, Ann Sibold, Robert Smith and Toby Torla.  On the sides of the Haul Road, digging the holes was challenging, through poison ivy, English ivy and many imbedded roots, rocks and gravel.

Photos contributed by Glenda Booth.

Melissa and TobyMelissa Westbrook and Toby Torla discussed the next steps.

Digging holesFODMers Greg Crider, Patty McCarthy and Dorothy McManus dug holes.

Robert SmithRobert Smith tackled a tough site for a new tree.

Larry CartwrightLarry Cartwright explained the value of the winterberry plant to birds.