Know Your Invasives
We continue our series on invasive plant awareness with a few facts about the ever-present English ivy (Hedera helix). English ivy was first introduced to the U.S. by European immigrants for its ornamental appeal. It is an aggressive invader that threatens all vegetation levels of forested and open areas, growing along the ground as well as into the forest canopy. On the ground, English ivy forms dense and extensive monocultures that exclude native plants. English ivy also serves as a reservoir for Bacterial Leaf Scorch (Xylella fastidiosa), a plant pathogen that is harmful to elms, oaks, maples and other native plants.
Looking for a climbing, evergreen vine to plant in your yard similar to English ivy? Opt for native Crossvine (Bigonia capreolata) instead. This cold-hardy, easy to grow vine attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and has beautiful two-toned trumpet flowers.
Nandina or Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) is such a common landscaping shrub, you could easily mistake it for a native plant. However, Nandina was brought to North America as an ornamental shrub from Eastern Asia in the 1800s. While the leaves of Nandina provide beautiful fall color and the bright red berries look great as festive centerpieces, the seeds are easily spread by birds and some evidence has shown that the berries could be toxic to birds such as the sleek, migratory cedar waxwing. This shade tolerant shrub also invades forest edges and interiors which can displace surrounding native plants.
If you are looking for plants with vibrant fall color, consider planting native species such as Alabama Croton (Croton alabamensis) or if you want a plant that stays green year round, try the evergreen blueberry (Vaccinium darrowii) which is also beneficial to native bees. As a reminder, we will have a variety of native species beneficial to wildlife at our annual Native Plant sale on April 6th and 7th!
“Donating to Ruffner Mountain will not save the tri-colored bat, it will not ensure the king snake reigns, or preserve the Alabama Larkspur. Donating will not save any of those things, but it will help support the place that you already love, that you already visit. We cannot change the past. We can, however, build a future that protects and values the natural world…” - Carlee Sanford, Executive Director
The Nature Center will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday, November 23rd. However, our trails are open from dawn until dusk and we have public restrooms, and water fountains on the back porch pavilion. We will reopen the Nature Center on Saturday, November 24th at 9:00 am. From all of us at Ruffner, have a safe and happy holiday!
For the past few months, Ruffner Mountain has been, and will continue to be, a site for research conducted by Bat Conservation International (BCI) in conjunction with the United States Forest Service, Northern Arizona and the University of Winnipeg. This study is currently testing treatment options in mines that have tested positive for White-nose Syndrome (WNS) - a fungal disease that is devastating bat populations in North America.
This study, along with BCI. and their partners, have recently been announced as one of the recipients of the Bats for the Future Fund 2018 - a grant funded by The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Avangrid and Southern Company.
Ruffner wishes Bat Conservation International, Inc., their partners, and all of the recipients of the Bats for the Future Fund success in their endeavors.
We will keep everyone posted as the results of this study emerges. In the meantime, consider donating or becoming a member of Ruffner. You are not just helping a beautiful greenspace remain open -you are also supporting a location for groundbreaking research.
Did you know that fall is the best time to plant a tree? Take our quiz to find out which one of Ruffner’s available native trees (for sale now at our Nature Center) will work best for your yard! To see a list of trees click here.
Ruffner's Nature Center will be open Monday, September 3rd for Labor Day. Stop by to say hello! Our trails, as always, are open from dawn to dusk. There will be no yoga at Ruffner Monday evening.
At Ruffner, we encourage everyone to get outside this Labor Day, whether it is at Red Mountain Park, Railroad Park, Vulcan Park and Museum, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, right here at Ruffner, or any green space you enjoy in our area. (Just make sure to check their hours of operation before you go!)
If you love a green space, no matter who it may be, make sure to support it if you can. Every little bit helps.
Happy Labor Day!