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Love the view from Chimborazo Park this time of year (UPDATED)

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Catherine Illian 08/13/2016 at 4:08 PM

Yep our tour groups do too.. Those tree of heaven trees really do it for us!!

Cadeho 08/13/2016 at 4:36 PM

I hate those Tree of Heaven trees.. all of them need to be cut down from that hillside and anywhere else they appear in the city. I remember whenever we drove to Fulton from Broad, my aunt used to look at the view from Government Road and call it “the Hamlet.” The last time I drove through, that view is blocked too… This is very sad.

Church Hill Social worker 08/13/2016 at 4:46 PM

Hahaha! I just moved here and didn’t know there was a view there! I thought it was a forest!! Lol.

Cadeho 08/14/2016 at 1:45 AM

Christian Briggs, wrong hill.

Elaine Odell 08/14/2016 at 9:11 AM

Former residents of the hill (grew up here in the 70’s) stopped us at his stop a couple weeks ago and asked why the weed trees were allowed to block the view. We were embarrassed to admit we had gotten no response from Parks or DPW–despite the surge in property values and RE taxes. The visitors just shook their heads in dismay and said “that’s why we retired to Henrico: better service from local government and lower taxes.”

Rick Tatnall 08/14/2016 at 9:12 AM

My friend Band Saw and I went out to Chimbo this morning and made an English style vista to restore some of the view at the Chimborazo Hospital rock. I agree with Chris Lumpkin that these are Trees of Hell, but for those that like them, I left plenty. Sorry I did not have a camera to show how it looks, but I am sure John or someone will provide one. Please wander by and check out the view – you can see Chesterfield!

bozatwork 08/14/2016 at 9:56 AM

What an embarrassment. An ounce of prevention. The cobblestone pathway would be great if it was restored too. I wish the local biking community could help support clearing with the city crew. The cyclocross race is a great but the maintenance of the park has always been poor. The historic view exists even if the city fails to maintain the property. If a large building is erected, well then the view is permanently gone.

Neighbor 08/14/2016 at 9:58 AM

Stop trying manage the site with goats and use some glyphosphate once or twice and the problem will be solved.

jean mcdaniel 08/14/2016 at 12:49 PM

The more you cut these trees, the stronger and thicker they grow. The ONLY solution to control them is chemical.

I don’t think this is where the goats eat but if it is, by curbing the leaves the plant makes more root growth. This goes for Rick’s friend band saw as well, although your efforts are appreciated!

Kathleen 08/15/2016 at 9:15 AM

Jean is correct. I’m a member of the Friends of Chimborazo Park and getting rid of the ghetto palms is on our wish list. I’ve met with the RVA tree stewards about this overgrowth and chemicals combined with cutting are the only thing that work. It’s a tricky process. Cutting them down without chemicals will actually make the problem worse. There are a few people that have been doing that, and while I appreciate your efforts, please stop!! For every 1 ghetto palm that is ‘stressed’, aka cut down, an average of 5 new shoots will spring up. The only way to get rid of these is to cut them and then apply brush-b-gone within 15 seconds of the cut. Ghetto palms are resilient and they seal off within 15 seconds. They rob the soil of nutrients in order to kill off native vegetation., which is what led to the demise of the orchard. I walk and ride Chimborazo every day and the continued overgrowth makes me very sad. The departments of Parks and Rec and Public Works are aware of the problem.

Bert 08/15/2016 at 4:31 PM

I fail to see how neighbors doing SOMETHING about the problem is worse than the city doing NOTHING. This is a disgrace.

cpandmg 08/15/2016 at 5:59 PM

Sorry to bring up a sore subject, but the same problem was happening in Libby Park until a woman was dragged into the tall weeds and raped there several years ago. Only after a huge outcry from residents of the St. John’s district, did the city begin regular mowing and weed control in Libby Park. I certainly don’t hope it takes another tragic incident before the city cleans up Chimborazo.

Liz 08/15/2016 at 6:03 PM

Bert – I agree!!

dontmincewords 08/16/2016 at 6:32 AM

Will the city at least supply the chemical if volunteer crews with saws organize? Or is that a liabiilty issue? Probably no moreso than a rape or other hide-in-the-bushes activity.

jean mcdaniel 08/16/2016 at 7:03 AM

Kathleen, thank you for the details. I was too pushed for time to get into such a detailed explanation.

Bert and Liz, Please read Kathleen’s post. If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t do it! If what you are doing is making a problem worse, stop doing it.

Juliellen 08/16/2016 at 7:12 AM

#22 and #24, cutting the trees without immediate application of a certain herbicide makes the problem WORSE. That’s why. Please, if you want to make a positive difference, learn how to do it correctly. Otherwise, your time and effort is counter-productive and ends up making things worse for everyone.

jean mcdaniel 08/16/2016 at 8:30 AM

Plants are amazing things. Have you ever seen a field of dandelions three feet tall swaying in the breeze? Have you ever seen a field of dandelions three inches tall and so close together it looks like yellow carpet?

They are the same plants. The three foot tall dandelions don’t get mowed. The three inch dandelions get a regular mowing so they know that they need to disperse their seeds before the flowers get to blade height. A field of dandelions will grow as tall as the mower blade is set. To control dandelions, you have to mow after they flower but before they set seed.

Liz 08/16/2016 at 9:09 AM

I did read those posts. I just don’t understand why it is necessary to come on here and bash someone who was trying to help.

morgan 08/16/2016 at 11:00 AM

oh for god’s sakes. it wasn’t bashing, it was educating

jean mcdaniel 08/16/2016 at 11:42 AM

Liz , I don’t see anyone bashing anyone.

Several people have given knowledgeble, informed explainations as to why this particular plant should not be just cut back. The existing results give validity to the advice. And, the people doing the cutting have been recognized as being appreciated for their efforts.

Mike Harrell 08/16/2016 at 1:40 PM

Does anyone know who started the “orchard” in the lower section of the park and why they’ve apparently abandoned it?

Kathleen 08/16/2016 at 4:30 PM

My words were not meant to *bash* anyone and I actually did say thank you for the attempt. Please understand that cutting the ghetto trees without the immediate application of the herbicide makes the problem much worse. Every ghetto tree that is cut improperly will reproduce 4-5 new shoots immediately.
It is my understanding that the City does not have the manpower or the funds to address the multiple problems in Chimborazo Park. A representative from the Dept. of Public Works stated earlier in the summer that they could not afford to keep up the grounds work for City parks and schools. In addition, the application of the herbicide needs to be done by someone with a lisence to do so. Also, I’m fairly certain you can be fined for cutting down trees, etc. in City parks without permission. The City can’t afford to take care of the parks but we can’t do it either without permission.
There were,2 orchard attempts. The first one was on the hill just below the Chimborazo House and it was overrun by the ghetto trees. The second attempt is the fenced section below the dog park. It was planted by Blue Bee and I believe the trees did not take and died.

War-GibFA 08/16/2016 at 8:57 PM

@33- Daily Chimborazo dog park user, here. There were quite a number of perfectly lively fruit trees in the fenced orchard this spring, before the entire place was overrun by weeds. There still is a huge pile of mulch at the entrance to the orchard, that’s never gotten spread around. It’s another issue with lack of manpower/maintenance.

Lee 08/16/2016 at 10:01 PM

Question for Kathleen and Jean McDaniel:

I have routinely cut down tree of heaven on my own property, and have uprooted the offshoots when I can and I no longer have a problem with them. I assumed, based on my experience that with enough time and REGULAR maintenance they can be killed by cutting, or at least kept at bay? I realize this is probably unrealistic for the city. Basically, what I’m asking is: How can it keep reproducing if you prevent photosynthesis by killing the vegetation? Won’t it run out of stored nutrients/energy eventually?

Lee 08/16/2016 at 10:05 PM

Also, a quick google search led to a much debated solution: allegedly, it is possible to cut them down to just above the ground and then drive a copper nail (perhaps several for larger trees?) into the stump to kill them (not clear/debated if the nail needs to be driven into the top or the side of the stump). Allegedly, the oxidation of the copper somehow poisons the tree. Any experience with this method/do you know if it works?

jean mcdaniel 08/17/2016 at 8:51 AM

Lee, I have never heard of the copper nail attack and it was never mentioned in any of my botany classes. However, if someone would like to try it, I would be very interested in the results.

These trees are deciduous and like many deciduous trees come back stronger after their winter vacation. There are plants that can lay dormant for twenty years and then ‘ come to life’! You can’t fool Mother Nature, but she sure can fool us!

I used to bushog a large patch of trees of heaven and after a while I was told not to bushog that area anymore. It was mistakenly believed that the problem had been eradicated .After two years, the patch of trees came back with a vengeance!

The City used to bushog this area several times a year and they have clearly stopped. The trees of heaven have gotten the message that it is time to ascend once again!

Keeping a plant “at bay” and “killing” said plant are two entirely different states of being.

Brian Colegrove 08/17/2016 at 9:31 AM

How about this? If those who are supposed to be taking care of the issue do not do so by October, we all pitch in to get the brush-b-gone and a couple of dumpsters. There is enough interest in this that we should be able to provide the manpower ourselves to cut and remove the trees. Those who are not cutting and removing can apply the brush-b-gone. Section it off with string so we keep it under control and make sure each stump gets treated before we move on to the next.

jean mcdaniel 08/17/2016 at 11:22 AM

Brian, excellant idea and excellant articles! Thank You.

Bill Hartsock 08/17/2016 at 3:48 PM

A few years ago the tree man from Flournoy’s gave me an old trick he had used for years with stumps. The secret was drive copper nails into the stump and pour buttermilk on the stump. I thought it was bizarre at first until I tried it. It worked like a charm. I’ve done it several time, since, and it’s worked every time.

chpn 08/18/2016 at 4:31 PM


Rick Tatnall 08/19/2016 at 7:38 AM

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury,

I have waited until John posted a picture of the vista I created before adding my thoughts to the many comments about my unauthorized removal of the trees blocking the view at Chimborazo Park. While I was not aware of the prolific reproduction capacity of the “ghetto palm” and the potential harm I might be creating, I am glad I did what I did for two big reasons:

1) We got some of the wonderful view back

2) We have started a discussion about fixing the problem.

It is easy to blame the City, but the citizens of Richmond, especially those who use and appreciate Chimborazo Park, are the real culprits here. We let it get this bad with a lot of talk and no action. Since there is no point in lamenting what we should have done, and since it is obvious that the City isn’t going to have the resources or the will to take care of this issue any time soon, I suggest we use this opportunity to galvanize the support of the community and fix it ourselves. What I did by myself last Sunday morning took 90 minutes of hard work with only a band saw. The work I did cleared the view and provided a close up picture of the density of the problem which will inform our effort to clear the rest of the hill and the massive amount of poison ivy that is intertwined with the ghetto palms. 5 sprouts from an untended cut only are a problem if there is no regular maintenance. As folks like Lee and Brian have referenced, there are lots of means and ideas to deal with stumps and all that awaits us. With a couple of borrowed chain saws and a little money for brush-b-gone, copper nails and buttermilk, and a little time from a lot of folks, we could knock out this problem in a weekend and develop a basic and consistent maintenance plan to never let it happen again.

I am obviously not a tree expert, but I am a great grunt worker and I offer a weekend of work if someone who knows what they are doing wants to organize an effort. Any takers?

jean mcdaniel 08/19/2016 at 11:41 AM

For anyone who feels “bashed”, I hope you have read these posts and realize that there was no “bashing”.

I think 43 is right on track !

I am unable to give any physical labour due to health issues, however, I will donate $50.00 toward the purchase of the appropriate herbicide to be used. Whoever is in charge of purchasing, please let me know.

Brian Colegrove 08/19/2016 at 3:36 PM

I’m in for $50 and grunt work. Luckily for me, poison ivy doesn’t do anything to me!

Marie B 08/19/2016 at 8:17 PM

I would love to help with taking out these ‘ghetto palm’! I’m all for getting rid of invasive species. Any chance we could possibly get students involved? We frequently talk about invasive species maintenance in my classes and it would be cool to tie it in right here.

War-GibFA 08/19/2016 at 8:17 PM

Thanks for improving the view, #43!

I’d be up for grunt work, as long as it’s on a weekend.

Kathleen 08/19/2016 at 9:19 PM

I’m in for grunt work and I will contribute $50 toward the purchase of brush-b-gone.

Brian 01/17/2017 at 2:38 PM

Reviving this old one…so, all of the leaves are gone from these Trees of “Heaven.”

Anyone want to organize and get these things outta here?

John M 05/14/2017 at 3:09 PM Reply
The weed trees at Chimborazo Park are being cleared right now (UPDATED) - Church Hill People's News | Richmond, Virginia 06/01/2017 at 3:47 PM

[…] Love the view from Chimborazo Park this time of year (8/13/16) […]


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