Here’s a scary fact: humanity depends on plants for survival! Even more terrifying: the plants are at war, and the casualties are becoming catastrophic! Invasive plant species from other regions are thriving in Southern California because they lack natural predators and have the ability to survive in our sunny climate. This means we’ll have fewer species overall, which are less resistant to extreme weather and red-eared slider turtle attacks.
That is why ecoSolargy took up arms a few weeks ago to defend Irvine Regional Park from invasive warriors (better known as castor beans). After a brisk morning drive to the outskirts of Orange County, we received a briefing from our fearless leader Mr. Park Ranger. Equipped with pick axes, shovels, and shears, the uphill battle ensued. As an environmentalist, it’s difficult for me to feel good about tearing down trees. However, beneath the layers of guilt, I found myself enjoying removing these large castor bean plants. My years in biology class didn’t prepare me for the seemingly endless digging through dry, tough dirt to remove the invaders’ deep root systems. The tough work provided excellent “job training” for our new intern and we eventually cleared most of the invasive species from Bunker Hill #IrvinePark.
When the battle had ended and the dust had cleared, I was able to reflect on the lessons I learned. One, trees have large root systems. Two, it’s easier to plant trees than it is to uproot them. Finally, always bag the invasive seed pods before hauling branches away or your hard work will be useless! Oh and, for the record OC Parks, Danny was the one who broke that shovel.