Celebrate trees and bash the bad plants this Sunday in Uplands

Tree climbing, pest control among the demos planned for Tree Appreciation Day

Join Margaret Lidkea and the Friends of Uplands Park at Cattle Point this Sunday to help rid the park of invasive plant species. The event is part of Tree Appreciation Day.

Large, medium and small all trees get equal treatment during the annual Tree Appreciation Day and 23rd annual Community Invasive Bash on Sunday.

Still known colloquially as the Broom Bash, the annual gathering expanded to focus on invasive plants such as English ivy, Daphne laureola.

Join Oak Bay Parks staff and Friends of Uplands Park to learn about native trees and invasive trees, and plant trees and other native plants from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

“We will be planting some trees but we will also have a display of trees that are appropriate for your yard,” said Chris Hyde-Lay, manager of parks for Oak Bay. “We’ll have a demonstration on how to plant those.”

They’ll showcase a series of different sizes and species ideal for Oak Bay residents to help maintain the tree canopy in the community. Information on pests, and demonstrations on pest control, proper pruning and even a little tree climbing will round out the Oak Bay Parks portion of the day from 10 to noon. Ron Carter will lead community tree walks.

“We’re also going to provide an opportunity for families to have fun ripping up ivy and helping their natural environment ecosystem,” said Margaret Lidkea, of Friends of Uplands Park.

From noon to 4 p.m. remove invasive plants like English ivy, Daphne laureola and Scotch broom to help the endangered Garry oak ecosystem.

Boasting one of the highest concentrations of rare and endangered plants in Canada, the park contains the remnants of a rare ecosystem complex of Garry oak meadows and woodlands, maritime meadows and vernal pools, which used to cover a much greater area in the region. Ivy in particular climbs trees and constricts growth.

Hyde-Lay encourages residents to come down and see the work done over the past few years by the District of Oak Bay, Friends of Uplands Park and volunteers.

With 14 of the rare plants listed with the federal Species at Risk Act, the municipality scored federal Habitat Stewardship Program funding for about a decade – including a three-year ongoing grant approved this summer.

The funding allows for hiring a summer crew to remove invasive species. The district also provided in-kind support and Friends of Uplands Park offered about 1,000 hours of volunteer time.

“We really want people to bring their questions,” Hyde-Lay added.

Both encourage residents to bring families, friends, gloves and loppers or pruners to join in the fun of being outside, physically active and helping the environment.  Dress appropriately for working among the trees and tools such as loppers and saws will be put to good use.

No experience is necessary, as they will train on proper removal of the plants. Refreshments are promised.

The annual tree appreciation and invasive plant pull is Sunday, Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Meet at the Beach Drive entrance to Cattle Point