Sowing Seeds Of Hope In The New Year: Parks Staff Plants Native Seeds During Winter Work

January 18, 2019 by Pittsburgh Parks

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy field staff spends hundreds of hours every winter clearing invasive vines from our park woodlands. Our staff can more easily move through forested areas in the cold months, allowing them to saw and snip the vines that might otherwise choke out trees and take over hillsides. This work gives our park trees and native plants a big advantage each spring.

Gardener Jaci cutting vines

While doing this work, staff noticed that they were disturbing soil and creating openings for light to hit the forest floor - two conditions that are perfect for planting new seeds. So this year they planned ahead, collecting seeds from several park flower beds in the fall to spread as they cut vines in the winter. 

Milkweed seeds were collected in the fall to plant in the winter. Image by USFWS.

Plants native to our region provide countless benefits to our parks. By replacing acres of aggressive, invasive vines with native plants, we hope to boost the biodiversity of park woodlands, provide new habitat, and reduce erosion. On a recent workday in Schenley Park, staff spread milkweed, butterfly weed, coneflower, baptisia, northern sea oats, black-eyed Susan and redbud seeds. 

Parks staff break apart seed pods so that they can be easily spread

Once the weather breaks, we will be able to see how effective this new technique is. We can’t wait to see what grows in our park woodlands in the new year and we'll be sure to share our findings with you!

Parks Management, Flowers and Gardens, Restoration Projects