Invasive Plant Task Force - James River Park System

Pony Pasture and The Wetlands Study Area

Pony Pasture/Wetlands Study Area Map

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Study area summary

The Pony Pasture/The Wetlands study area includes approximately 95.2 acres of park land and was divided into six management units of various sizes. The lead organization for the baseline study of this park section was the Riverine Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists. The task force field team identified a total of 21 invasive plant species across all management units, including:

  • 11 species ranked with high invasiveness;
  • 8 species ranked with medium invasiveness; and,
  • 2 species ranked with low invasiveness.

The most prevalent invasive plants across all management units were Amur honeysuckle and winter creeper. Amur honeysuckle is a highly invasive shrub species that was found in all management units, averaging greater than 50 percent cover (Cover Class 4). Similar to the Huguenot Woods Flatwater study area, winter creeper appears to be growing locally with high invasiveness along the forest floor and climbing up most trees, as evidenced by a percent cover greater than 75 percent (Cover Class 5) in four of the six Pony Pasture/The Wetlands management units. The high abundance of these two invasive plants resulted in very high overall cover class values (i.e., Cover Class 4 or 5) within five of the six management units. Only Management Unit “5b” was recorded with a lower cover class; however, invasive species in this management unit were still relatively high (Cover Class 3), due to dominant growth of Amur honeysuckle and English ivy.

Aside from the prevalence of Amur honeysuckle and winter creeper, other important results include the identification of two invasive shrub species with high invasiveness (Chinese privet and multiflora rose), which were found to be dominant components of the overall forest community within multiple management units. Further, other invasive plants that were not always dominant could be problematic due to their high invasiveness ranking, or evidence of their ability be highly invasive locally. These include tree-of-heaven, mimosa, Japanese stiltgrass, ground ivy, English Ivy, and Japanese honeysuckle.

The native plant community was also well documented by the task force volunteers within Pony Pasture and The Wetlands. Native species identified are representative of native plants typically found within the James River floodplain near the fall line. Red maple, white oak, bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis), hackberry, tulip tree, eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides), American sycamore, river birch, black walnut, sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), black cherry (Prunus serotina), box elder, and silver maple (Acer saccharinum). The understory includes native shrubs such as spicebush and bladdernut, as well as an herbaceous layer with various grasses, wild ginger (Asarum canadense), Bear’s-foot (Smallanthus uvedalia), pokeweed, whitegrass (Leersia virginica), sunflower (Helianthus sp.), wood nettle, wingstem, sweet cicily (Osmorhiza claytonii), and tick trefoil (Desmodium spp.). Several native vine species are also present within the study area, including trumpet creeper, poison ivy, roundleaf greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia), muscadine, and Virginia creeper.

ยป Phase One Baseline Study Data Summary (PDF)

Updates from the study area

None at this time.