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Help us remove invasive Mayday/Chokecherry Trees!

by | July 1, 2021

The European bird cherry or mayday tree (Prunus padus) and the Canada red chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) were widely planted across Alaska’s urban areas for decades because they flower early, attract the birds, and the chokecherry leaves turn a pretty purple/red color in the late summer. Unfortunately, both of these tree species have jumped the fence – birds have been known to transport the cherries up to 4 miles from the original tree – and rogue populations have established along salmon streams and outcompeted native shrubs that moose depend upon.

European bird cherry/chokecherry trees
Homer property completely infested with mayday trees.
Invasive Prunus tree in ditch
Invasive mayday/chokecherry trees have escaped yards and established along wet ditches where they easily compete with alder and birch trees.

Please help us protect the Kenai Peninsula’s moose and salmon habitat by removing these beautiful but harmful invasive trees. We have several options for landowner assistance:

  • Willing to remove your invasive trees? You may qualify for a $100 reimbursement for purchasing an alternative ornamental tree/shrub to replace the invasive bird cherry/chokecherry trees you remove from your property. Available to the first 20 participants only.
  • If you live in Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, or a remote part of the Kenai Peninsula, we are offering landowner assistance in removing your invasive trees.
  • If you remove the tree but don’t kill the roots, the cut stump will sucker and sprout. Contact us to learn how to kill the root system, or reference this handout from Cooperative Extension Service: Control of Invasive Chokecherry Trees.
  • Have you noticed an escaped bird cherry/chokecherry tree growing in a remote area? Contact us to report it and the KP-CISMA may be able to remove it before it spreads.

Contact Homer Soil & Water Conservation District: katherine@homerswcd.org to report trees and learn more about landowner incentive programs. Thank you for helping us keep the peninsula wild and free from invasive trees! Chokecherry brochure available here.

Bird Cherry flyer
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