Nursery trees find new home

Tuesday, December 4, Tree Pittsburgh and the Polish Hill Civic Association (PHCA) teamed up to plant 25 new saplings on the forested hillside along Melwood Avenue just west of the Bloomfield Bridge. This hillside has been a focus of ecological restoration efforts by community members for several seasons now. The area, known as “Melwood Park” in the Polish Hill community plan, was a public green space for past generations, and current residents are striving to reclaim the area for that same purpose.

 Starting out as a virtual monoculture of Japanese knotweed, the site has come a long way through the efforts of neighborhood volunteers who have systematically cut down the knotweed on a regular basis. The City of Pittsburgh Department of Forestry also pitched in by helping to remove several invasive trees such as mulberry and tree of heaven that existed among the knotweed.

With financial support from the Sprout Fund, the PHCA was able to purchase a variety of site-appropriate saplings from Tree Pittsburgh’s seedling nursery in order to repopulate the hillside with a diverse array of native tree species. Chestnut oak, black gum, osage orange and white pine are among the species that were introduced at this planting, many of which were germinated from seed collected around the city by Tree Pittsburgh staff and volunteers.

In the coming seasons, volunteers will return to the site in order to tend to these new seedlings. Watering, weeding and maintaining deer protection will all be key elements in ensuring that these new seedlings get a solid start in their new home. Be sure to have a look next time you pass by this fantastic Polish Hill green space!

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