FoEP wages battle against invasive plants

Friends of the Eastern Promenade and the City of Portland have launched an invasive plant management program, beginning with a large patch of Japanese knotweed below Fort Allen Park. Managing invasive plants will help promote native plant species, maximize the Eastern Promenade's potential for wildlife and preserve views for park visitors.

Invasive plants, such as Japanese knotweed, bush honeysuckle and Oriental bittersweet, are species that are not native to our region, usually transported here by humans. Invasive plants thrive in their new environment to the detriment of native species.  By outcompeting our native plants, invasive species starve the ecosystem of its natural carrying capacity. It takes wildlife an extremely long time to develop the ability to consume invasive plants.

Japanese knotweed, which can grow to several feet in height, features broad green leaves and hollow stems with raised rings, giving it the appearance of bamboo. The fast-growing plants cluster in dense patches and form an extensive network of underground roots, crowding out natural species.

Japanese knotweed is found in several areas on the Eastern Promenade, particularly on the slopes that are difficult to mow. Volunteers from Friends of the Eastern Promenade are currently focusing on removing knotweed from the slope northeast of the USS Portland Memorial descending to the railroad tracks.

As much as possible, invasive plant removal is achieved through manual labor and hand tools, minimizing the impact on the park and its visitors. If needed, the City of Portland and licensed applicators will employ chemical controls to the invasive plants. Removal of invasive species will be a long-term process, requiring multiple cuttings every year for a number of years.

Volunteers from Friends of the Eastern Promenade meet near the USS Portland one Saturday a month from 9 to 11 a.m. to “knock out the knotweed.” Upcoming dates:

July 2 Aug. 13 Sept. 17 Oct. 8

To volunteer or for more information, email info@friendsofeasternpromenade.org.