S.C. Native Plant Society to meet Jan. 17 at Landrum Depot

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

To trees, Newt Hardie is no stranger, nor a stranger to the S.C. Native Plant Society (SCNPS).  In the fall of 2010, he brought to the society his kudzu coalition message, championing the controlling of this horrific invasive without herbicides. Remember Kudzilla? At the time, this was the latest weapon against mighty kudzu, cleaning up sites that once seemed hopelessly large and overgrown. Over a 10-year period, the kudzu coalition has eradicated this invasive plant in 39 places in Spartanburg County.

Building on the successes of the kudzu coalition, Hardie is bringing his latest campaign, the trees coalition, to the first SCNPS meeting of the new year on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Landrum Depot.

Saving trees in the South Carolina upstate defines the trees coalition, a mix of volunteers and paid landscapers who work alongside neighborhoods needing help caring for their trees. The not-for-profit group is based in Spartanburg, using the Hatcher Garden as a portal for operations.

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“Educating and engaging the community,” says Hardie, “is paramount to maintaining healthy trees on a regular basis.” As an example of how he engages the community, in December the Trees Coalition hosted 50 Milliken associates from the performance products division who turned out in the cool weather to overhaul and spruce up Spartanburg’s River Birch Trail. They were supported by about a dozen trees coalition regulars.

Hardie is also talking with a conservation instructor at a local high school, hoping to connect with students who have the capability of producing videos of projects-in-progress for the trees coalition.

“The videos would not only add a lot to our website and on Facebook to help get our message out, they would involve young people offering them an opportunity to learn about the importance of healthy trees.”

In January‘s presentation Hardie will talk about the 10 most wanted public enemies which are infesting woodlands, like tree of heaven, non-native Wisteria, English ivy, bamboo, Elaeagnus and others. Hardie will also speak about providing proper tree care and having ‘tree parties’ that show examples of hands-on activities aimed at improving the health of trees.

Trees coalition volunteers meet every Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Hatcher Garden. Members and friends of the native plant society are invited to join any time. The group goes out to just one or more of the 184 sites in Spartanburg County to work a while on behalf of trees, providing hands-on training and a few special tools for work.

The Landrum Depot is at 211 North Trade St. in Landrum. For more information, visit scnps.org.

– article submitted by Steve Marlow