Written by SOLVE Duke Intern, Caroline
This morning, twenty enthusiastic LAST (Learning and Service Together) students from Oregon and Colorado were ready to get their hands dirty at Beaverton Creek Tributary. The site is located in a residential neighborhood and has unfortunately become completely overgrown with invasive species such as Armenian blackberry, thistle, and of course, morning glory. Morning glory thrives off of other plants by wrapping its leaves around them, slowly creeping up their stems, and eventually killing the native plants. By crowding out, blanketing, and smothering other plants, morning glory has turned into a serious invasive weed problem.
Thanks to the students, the area is clear of most invasive species and the newly planted native trees, shrubs, and flowers now have a place to thrive. To combat the invasives, students dug out the enormous blackberry roots to make sure they did not re-grow and cut down the very tall reed canary grass with loppers. The students then tacked down burlap coffee bags around the bases of the plants to keep the reed canary grass from growing taller than the plants and providing too much shade. These burlap bags will decompose into the earth in a few years. Finally, five gallon buckets of mulch were spread around each plant to provide extra nutrients, prevent erosion, and keep the plants well hydrated. Thanks to the hard work and positive energy of the students, we can look forward to seeing the plants and trees prosper in the Beaverton Creek Tributary in the near future!