Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Neal on his last day as a volunteer. The Mulberry weed can breathe a little easier tonight

Neal, a fixture in the Asian Collections and at the Arboretum for the past 15 years, is retiring from his volunteer position. The problem is that Neal isn't a halfway kind of guy; he's either in moving mulch, logs, rocks, or he's out. We'd love to have him come in and just weed but no half measures for Neal.

He's performed pretty much every task in the Asian Collections including removing English Ivy from huge areas, but his specialty is Mulberry Weed, Fatoua villosa. Neal was death on Mulberry weed, and removed it in huge quantities. He knew all the spots where it reseeded and had a sense for when the seeds would germinate.

He hated Koelreuteria, actually one specific tree, for its prolific powers. We remove thousands of seedlings every year produced by that (beautiful) tree at the bottom of China Valley. I almost feel like I ought to cut it down in Neal's honor. Don''t worry Carole....just joking. Anyway, it'll be up to the rest of us to control those weeds that Neal won't pull next year. I hope we're up to it.

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