by Danna McCormick
In February 2022, the National Park Service announced that it would remove the designation of Rock Creek Park resources named for Melvin Hazen. The mini-oasis previously known as Melvin Hazen will be referred to as Reservation 630 mini-oasis. More information can be found the Rock Creek Conservancy website.
Reservation 630 boundaries border Cleveland Park between Connecticut Avenue and Reno Road, Tilden Street on the north and Rodman Street on the south.
There are three weed warriors that work on this area, and we hope to bring you stories from all.
My work began in 2021 and one of the first things I began to tackle was “save the trees”. Years of growth of invasive strangling vines including Porcelain Berry, Oriental Bittersweet, and Japanese Honeysuckle had overtaken many of the younger sapling trees and climbed in to the canopy of mature trees in the park.
Below are one “before” and two “after” images. When I started work I really had no idea what was under this mass of invasive vines. The after photos are dramatic. I could almost hear these two native sapling trees breathing a sigh of relief.
In April 2022 I worked on a stand of native Northern spicebush. The spicebush had not yet leafed out, but the invasive wines had, which made them easy to spot and identify. This invasive Japanese honeysuckle vine can kill these shrubs by girdling and forming large tangles that smother them.
There’s much work to do in Reservation 630 and all over Rock Creek, but I’ve see first hand the dramatic different we can make in restoring these habitats and protecting native plants, and that makes this work extremely gratifying.