ITHACA, N.Y. –– The Town of Ithaca is currently in the process of replanting hundreds of native trees and shrubs along South Hill Recreation Way after months of working to remove invasive species that have altered the ecosystem in the area.

“This project is helping to remove the large amount of invasive species that don’t provide any benefit and replanting with native trees and shrubs which will create a diverse habitat that will provide shelter and food for wildlife,” said Michael Smith, senior planner for the town.

Last Sunday several Ithaca Town Board members, Conservation Board members and town staff helped begin the replanting process.

Some of the native trees and shrubs that the group helped to plant include Sugar Maple, American Sycamore, White/Red Oak, American Basswood, Tulip Popular, Black Cherry, Bitternut Hickory, White Pine, Bayberry, Fragrant Sumac, Nannyberry, Silky Dogwood, Black Elderberry, and Arrowwood Viburnum. According to Smith, the Town is planning to install a permanent educational sign near the Juniper Drive trail entrance describing the project and what types of natives have been planted.

He added that the planting should be done by the end of the week, and that when all is said and done, approximately 900 new native trees and shrubs will start growing in the area.

The project is being funded through a grant administered in 2018 by the New York State Urban and Community Forestry Grants Program and New York  State Department of Environmental Conservation.  The first stage began this past winter and spring when the town hired a specialist to cut down all the woody invasive plants and treat the remaining stumps with herbicide.

“Hopefully the native plantings will get well established and help prevent the invasives from returning,” Michael Smith said.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com