The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities is continuing an invasive species control and park improvement project in Windmill Hill Park, 501 S. Union St. The project includes the removal of invasive Ailanthus trees and other trees that are declining, infected or otherwise posing a safety hazard near the Wilkes St. Tunnel area. Following the tree removals, erosion control, back filling and establishment of turf and/or native plants will complete the project.
The work elements completed so far include removal of:
- Invasive trees (mostly mulberry trees and tree of heaven) from the slope leading to the tunnel entrance and the brick wall along Lee St.
- Most of the English ivy from the stone face of the tunnel entrance and the brick wall above it (this was damaging the mortar of the historic structure).
- Most of the porcelain berry and English ivy from the chain link fence (safety feature) above the tunnel along Lee St.
- Approximately ten Chinese hollies between the sidewalk and the adjacent fence along Lee St. These were severely overgrown, hanging into Lee St. , and were infested with scale insects and sooty mold.
Remaining tasks to be completed by spring 2017 include:
- Remove remaining stumps of mulberry trees and Chinese hollies (herbicide treatments have taken full effect).
- Plant native ornamental species (winged sumac) between the sidewalk and the fence along Lee St. to replace the Chinese hollies.
- Repaint the existing shorter fence along Lee St. (rusted fence exposed by removal of the Chinese hollies).
- Remove brown vegetation from wall and fence along Lee St. (vegetation was chemically treated in mid-August).
- Re-treat/remove any remaining English ivy or other invasive plants on the Lee St. wall which were not fully killed during the first treatment.
- Evaluate the four ash trees that are in significant decline adjacent to the playground. These will be either pruned back or removed.
- On the brick wall and fence along Lee St. prune back the desirable trumpet vine (valuable pollinator plant, after it completes blooming for the year).
- Remove the remaining porcelain berry and English ivy from the brick wall and chain link fence along Lee St. (after pruning back the trumpet vine).
- Sow the hillside leading to the tunnel entrance with a mix of native grasses and wildflowers to create a low-maintenance ground cover.
Residents will see City crews and contractors working in this area during the daytime. For additional information or questions about the project, contact Robert (Bob) Taylor, Division Chief, at Robert.Taylor@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.4641.