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Out with the Bad; In with the Good: Hamlin Street End (Median Strip) Cleanup Continues

All ages came out for the cleanup of Hamlin Street End, which turned out not to be the street-end park but the long median strip south of it between Hamlin and Edgar Streets. Invasive blackberries, clematis, ivy, and Japanese knotweed covered plantings that were originally there. Some of the original plants were uncovered and given a new chance to survive.

About a third of the median was weeded, and Omar Akkari, the city coordinator for shoreline street ends, said it would take about 800 labor hours to get that median back in shape. Well, it’s a start.  The city’s compost dumpster was full after Saturday’s three-hour work party made up of about 15 community volunteers myself included.

“On the surface it looks like an innocent patch of ivy and clematis,” said ECC board member and membership coordinator, Peter Haley, who was there for the cleanup, “but layer after layer of hacking and clipping revealed a density of branches worthy of a chain saw.”

Clipping back ivy to clear it out.

If you’ve ever tried to uproot ivy, you know what he means.

Nearby residents had previously and kindly cleared away a lot of the blackberry to spare volunteers.

The city is going to empty the dumpster, but then leave it for another two weeks. Residents across from the median strip plan to keep weeding, and welcome any help. So come on down with your clippers!

Be sure, however, if you cut back the knotweed that it goes in the garbage dumpster not the compost. “Even a small bit of knotweed will sprout and spread in compost,” a city worker told me after I tossed some unwittingly in – yikes – and then quickly retrieved it. (Knotweed is easy to recognize – it is bamboo-like and grows tall – see our photo.) Bring garbage bags.

Invasive Japanese knotweed towers over and out of the invasive ivy. It is even harder to eradicate than ivy and must go in the trash not the compost.

“The next step for Hamlin is to continue to work down the stretch but to also put a burlap cover on it and leave it over the winter,” said ECC President Detra Segar who helped organize the cleanup along with resident Bill Bogue. “In the early spring it will be mulched and planted with seeds of native plants.  We also talked about getting ahold of some smallish logs to put at the bottom of the hill to help hold it up as we work to repopulate it with ‘good’ plants.”

About a third of the median was cleared of invasives, leaving a couple of good shrubs.
The city’s compost dumpster at Hamlin Street End will be emptied and available for more compost (except Japanese knotweed!) for about two more weeks.

Written by Judy Smith

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