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‘Weeding the garden’: Maintaining Missouri’s woodlands falls largely to landowners

‘Weeding the garden’: Maintaining Missouri’s woodlands falls largely to landowners

It was almost hard to hear forestry expert Hank Stelzer over the sound of crunching leaves. Strolling through a sea of fallen foliage in Clyde Wilson Memorial Park on Monday morning, introducing trees like old friends, Stelzer was in his element.

But that element has seen better days.

Hank Stelzer, a professor in the School of Natural resources, explains

Hank Stelzer, a professor in the MU School of Natural Resources, explains the main problems facing Missouri’s wooded areas Monday in Columbia. He said the main concerns facing woodlands today are invasive species and overpopulation that limits trees’ resources.

A bush honeysuckle sits in the sun in Clyde Wilson Park

A bush honeysuckle sits in the sun in Clyde Wilson Park on Monday in Columbia. The bush honeysuckle is considered an invasive species because of its rapid growth and competitive nature for light.

A “burning bush,” known for its distinctive bright red leaves,

A “burning bush,” known for its distinctive bright red leaves, is surrounded by a variety of different trees on Monday in Columbia. The burning bush is an invasive species commonly found throughout Missouri’s wooded areas.

A bush known as wintercreeper sits in the sun in Clyde Wilson Park

A bush known as wintercreeper sits in the sun in Clyde Wilson Park on Monday in Columbia. Wintercreeper is an invasive species because of how it competes with native vegetation on the ground floor of wooded areas.

Professor Hank Stelzer holds an acorn from a native oak tree

Professor Hank Stelzer holds an acorn from a native oak tree Monday in Clyde Wilson Park. Stelzer explains that the trees that are already overpopulating the area will continue to do so as long as their seeds keep finding their way into the earth.

Clyde Wilson Park on Monday in Columbia. The 10 acre land

A bridge stands in Clyde Wilson Park on Monday in Columbia. The 10-acre land contains a plethora of both native and invasive species of trees and bushes.

  • State government reporter, spring 2022. Studying news reporting. Reach me at cgiffin@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • General Assignment Photographer, Fall 2021 Reach me at mccaskillc@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at (573) 882-5720

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