Highlands Forest Regeneration

There’s a spot on the Hilltop’s eastern slope just east of the Highlands apartment complex, where we had to eradicate a severe porcelain-berry vine infestation in 2022. After removing the porcelain-berry and other invasives, we only found one sycamore, one red mulberry and four raggedy boxelder trees — everything else had either been smothered or succumbed to disease (e.g., ash yellows, emerald ash borer). 

However, this also presented us with a great forest regeneration opportunity — so in 2023 we engaged a contractor to dig >50 tree pits and then had volunteers bring supplies and prep the planting holes. After that another volunteer team rolled in to plant and protect 50 native trees and shrubs, including:

White oak, blackgum, sweetgum, tuliptree, red mulberry, downy serviceberry, elderberry, blackhaw

This year / in 2024, we’ll need to apply mulch around the new plantings before summer heat and drought arrive — so we’ll be scheduling and conducting another volunteer event shortly, as soon as Essex County delivers the mulch. Contact the Conservancy if you’d like to help make the Hilltop a better place!