B&A Trail Project
(Project Summary & Newspaper Article)

Project Summary: SRA Completes B & A Trail Native Plant Project

Next time you are biking, walking, or rollerblading on the B & A Trail, take a moment to look at the brand new sign near Cypress Creek Road. in Severna Park.  Among the stands of tangled invasive plants like ivy and bamboo, there is a new SRA-sponsored demonstration of sustainable landscaping with native plants.  This is just the ticket, if you are thinking about planting on a slope near the Severn River and want to use low-maintenance, wildlife-friendly, and beautiful native plants.  Come see them!


The SRA worked jointly with the Fish and Wildlife Service BayScapes program and Friends of the B & A Trail to establish this native plant demonstration project on the Trail.  The cost of the installation was funded by a grant from the MD Dept. of Natural Resources.  SRA, Fish and Wildlife, and neighborhood folks worked to clear the site of alien plants and then plant the gorgeous natives in their place.


There was a special effort for the project to control the invasive bamboo adjacent to the site.  Most of the ornamental bamboo we plant is native to Asia, and many species are highly invasive and difficult to control, once established.  A special thick, but flexible plastic barrier was buried on the left side of the project to help prevent the bamboo runners from creeping back into the site.


Britt Slattery designed the planting plan to include examples of trees, shrubs, and flowering plants that provide color and interest all year long.  They are all native plants, which are well adapted to our climate and droughty periods, and are resistant to pests.  They benefit native wildlife, providing the food and nesting sites our local critters evolved with.  Although this is a fairly shady sloped site, many of these plants will do well in multiple conditions. 


To see the project, look near the intersection of Cypress Creek Road and Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd, not far from the Woods Community Center. 


Get more information at the BayScapes program.   For examples of native plants to use in your landscape, consult the online version of Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping.  This is a great publication with photos and information on each plant.




Native plant project gets rid of invasive species on B&A Trail

Published October 19, 2005, The Capital, Annapolis, Md. 

At long last, the sun came out as shovel-toting volunteers converged on a section of the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail on Saturday. The group came together to tackle a massive planting of native trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants and flowers.

Only a short time before, the planting site, a sloped area just below Cypress Creek Road, was a dense tangle of bamboo, English Ivy, and Japanese honeysuckle, all of them alien, invasive species.

But that was all ripped up, and replanted with plants that are native to the Chesapeake region.

So Baltimore and Annapolis Trail users, stop and smell the hay-scented fern. While you're at it, check out the sweet pepperbush and sheep laurel but stay away from the yellow sneezeweed.

Just kidding, it doesn't really make you sneeze.

An area watershed organization, the Severn River Association, launched the project after receiving a grant from the Maryland Department of Natural

Resources Urban and Community Forestry Funding program. The group joined forces with Britt Slattery, from the Spacescapes Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who designed the landscaping for this worthwhile enterprise.

Ms. Slattery also arranged for all of the equipment and plant materials for the "B&A Trail Wildlife Habitat and Slope Stabilization Demo Project."

Incorporating more than 600 plants, the design provides an evergreen screen of American holly, inkberry and eastern redcedar. It includes an understory edge of shrubs such as redbud, sweetbay magnolia, mountain laurel and lowbush blueberry. Grasses like broom sedge, ferns, and numerous perennial flowers including goatsbeard, wild geraniums, and, naturally, Maryland's state flower, the black-eyed Susan, provide ground cover.

The plants mature at different times of the year so there is something beautiful to contemplate in every season, from the first flowers of spring to hollies bedecked with red berries come December.

Ms. Slattery said the goals of the planting are threefold.

First, since native species planted on slopes prevent erosion and pollution by stabilizing the soil and slowing the flow of rainwater runoff, they will improve water quality in nearby streams and creeks.

Second, as the plants grow, the area will provide a habitat for wildlife, attracting bees, butterflies, birds and other small creatures.

Third, lots of people will see it. Since the area is on an incline, it will provide a good example of plants that are suitable for riverbanks and other sloping landscapes. It will also illustrate which plants are appropriate for use under power lines.

Severn River Association member, Thistle Cone, who, along with Ms. Slattery, spearheaded the project, is justly proud.

"This natural landscape will be an amazing contrast from the huge stand of bamboo that's in the next lot over," she says. "Bamboo really takes over, interfering with power lines and smothering out the original vegetation. Our plan shows that native plants are interesting too."

Project helpers were astounded by the number of trail users who stopped to chat and ask questions.

According to Ms. Slattery, the most frequently asked question was, "How do we get rid of ivy and bamboo?"

Bamboo, native to China, was introduced to the United States in 1882 in Alabama and spread like wildfire.

It is tough to get rid of. Methods employed in this program include cutting down canes, grinding and treating the roots with an environmentally safe chemical and digging a trench next to the neighboring stand of bamboo into which a protective barrier will be inserted to stop its further growth.

The overall plan was implemented in several stages beginning with site preparation in September. With the help of volunteers from the Severn River Association, the Olde Severna Park Neighborhood Association and the Fish and Wildlife Service, the area was cleared and partially mulched.

Next, professionals were brought in to remove the bamboo, ivy and honeysuckle roots and to auger holes for the native trees that would replace them.

The final stage, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, lasted most of the day and involved removing some of the more stubborn roots and planting trees, shrubs, and numerous flats of flowers.

After everything was in place, volunteers returned Sunday to provide the finishing touches, a rich layer of mulch and some minimal fencing.

Volunteers spent long hours on the project but are pleased with the results.

Loraine vom Saal's response was typical. "It's great, but I can't wait for Spring!" she exclaimed. "It'll be beautiful!"

Her husband, Bob, reflecting on the intense development of the area since he relocated here from New York 30 years ago, says, "I'm just doing what I can to maintain as much as possible of what I moved here for in the first place."

If you would like more information about these plants, check out Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed - www.nps.gov/plants/pubs/chesapeake/index.htm.

Sharon Lee Tegler is a freelance writer in Severna Park.

(Revised Dec 2006)