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Fayetteville offers residents free trees, shrubs to replace invasive plants

The City of Fayetteville will hold its fifth annual invasive plant “bounty” program, in which the City replaces residents’ invasive plants with native trees, shrubs

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — This spring, the City of Fayetteville will hold its fifth annual invasive plant “bounty” program, in which the City replaces residents’ invasive plants with a native tree or shrub – for free.

Each year, Urban Forestry staff adds one additional invasive plant to the program’s bounty list and spotlights invasive plant species issues. The program began with Bradford pear trees (Pyrus calleryana), later adding bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense), and the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima).

Golden bamboo (Pyllostachys aurea) is being added to the bounty program this year.

To increase awareness and discourage the spread of these invasive plants, the City has posted a bounty on these plants with a reward of one native tree or shrub. The City will give away one native tree or native shrub to each person that removes Bradford pear trees, bush honeysuckle, Chinese privet, tree of heaven, or golden bamboo on their property within city limits.

To qualify, residents are asked to take a picture of their cut-down invasive tree or shrubs in early spring, then email the photo of the removed plant to the government. Include your name, address, and phone number. The limit is one tree or shrub per household while supplies last. Trees will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that the City cannot cut down your tree or shrubs; property owners are asked to cut them or hire a company.

Native tree and shrub species may be picked up from 3-5 p.m. on weekdays between April 3 and 14 at the Parks, Natural Resources and Cultural Affairs office, at 1455 S. Happy Hollow Road. (After-hour arrangements can be made). Native tree and shrub species to be given away will be announced closer to the pickup period.

Invasive species threaten habitat and native species by outcompeting native plants for critical resources. They spread quickly and choke out native trees, shrubs, and flowers. Invasive plants usually have vigorous growth, reseed prolifically, displace natives, negatively alter forest environments and prevent natural habitat regeneration.

Urban Forestry staff stress “Right Tree, Right Place.” Trees can take many years to reach their mature height and spread. Residents should always contact Arkansas One Call at 811 or 800-482-8998 before digging.

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