Tree removal has been completed along the path according to specifications, which included the removal of invasive and poor quality crabapples and white mulberry. Additional poor-quality trees were removed to reduce shade and improve success of the wildflower planting, while providing additional room for higher quality oaks and black walnuts to grow.
Remaining invasive brush will be removed starting mid-December followed by wildflower seeding. Several trees further from the path will be girdled and left as standing deadwood for the benefit of birds and insects.
The park district understands that quick changes are happening in the natural areas at Meadowbrook Park. However, work behind the scenes has been happening for several months. The planning and review process includes input on short- and long-term management strategies from the district’s Natural Areas Committee.
Before the current phase of work, the Hickman Wildflower Walk was overgrown with invasive honeysuckle, crabapples and reed canary grass which were spreading into other parts of the park and reduced the effectiveness of management strategies like prescribed fire.
Botanist John White completed an Inventory and Analysis of the Flora of Meadowbrook Park in 2012. At that time, he noted, “The woods along the Hickman Wildflower Walk has the highest density and diversity of invasive plants in Meadowbrook Park. Some the invasives growing there came from neighboring gardens, and some were planted along the walk. The thinly wooded, lightly shaded habitat along the Wildflower Walk is ideal for the establishment of several kinds of aggressive and prolific non-native vines, shrubs, and trees”
The park district anticipates planting additional oak and flowering trees throughout the wildflower walk to reestablish high quality woodland conditions.
See original posting from August 2015