Fayetteville’s bounty on invasive plants returns in 2022

Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), a highly invasive non-native plant in the U.S.

Photo: Dendroica cerulea, CC 2.0

FAYETTEVILLE — The city will once again offer a free tree or shrub to anyone who cuts down a certain type of invasive plant on their property.

The program began in 2019 with a bounty on Bradford pear trees, and garnered national attention for the city’s Urban Forestry program. Each year, a new plant type is added to the bounty, which now includes bush honeysuckle, Chinese privet and tree of heaven.

All four plants are considered invasive plant species that spread quickly and choke out native trees, shrubs, and flowers.

In an effort to spread awareness and discourage the spread of invasive species, city staff will give one native tree or shrub to any resident who cuts down one of the four identified invasive species on their property within the city limits.

To qualify, residents are asked to email a picture of their cut-down invasive species to [email protected]. The email should include the owner’s name, address, and phone number. The limit is one tree or shrub per household while supplies last. Trees will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis.

The free plants may then be picked up between 3-5 p.m. weekdays between April 5-15 at the Parks Department Office, 1455 S. Happy Hollow Road. After-hour arrangements can be made if necessary. The specific types of native tree and shrub species to be given away will be announced at a later date.

For questions, call John Scott, the city’s urban forester, at 479-444-3470.