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Seattle reLeaf
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Restoration Starts At Home

neighborhood restoration

Tree Ambassadors help restore neighborhood green spaces.

You can help restore Seattle’s urban forest by starting in your own backyard! Removing invasive plants is the first step in habitat restoration.

Invasive plants, by nature, are aggressive and take over landscapes and smother native and non-invasive ornamental plants. English ivy and invasive blackberries are both widespread in Seattle parks and yards. Ivy grows quickly up the trunk of a tree, smothering branches, and eventually killing the tree. Ivy also robs nutrients from trees and provides a haven for rats in urban yards. Invasive Himalayan and evergreen blackberry out-compete native understory plants and prevent the natural regeneration of native trees that require sun for germination.

Invasive plants on residential property do not just degrade the landscape around homes, but also provide the seed source for the invasive plants that invade Seattle’s public spaces. Thousands of volunteer hours have gone into removing invasive species from parks, however until the worst invaders are eliminated on residential property, the seed source will continue to infest parks.

What Can You Do?

  • Replant with appropriate understory shrubs and ground covers. Choose plants without invasive tendencies that will grow well under the soil and sun conditions in your yard. Check out this helpful guide for creating your own native plant landscape: Northwest Native Plant Guide.
  • Plant some trees! Native species are great, but ornamental species are also appropriate as long as they are not invasive. Some non-native tree species and cultivars are actually more adaptable to Seattle’s urban environment and require less care to maintain than native species. Confused about the difference between native, non-native, and invasive species? Check out this great overview by the Oregon Department of Forestry.
  • Need help planting a tree? The Trees for Neighborhoods program helps Seattle residents plant free trees plus provides training in planting and care.

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