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Helping Fairfax County Park Authority Rescue Trees
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Helping Fairfax County Park Authority Save its Trees

There are three ways to help clip invasive vines in FCPA properties.

  1. Sign up for any of the Invasive Management Area program (IMA) group events. (These are not all events for saving trees - other invasive plants may be the target on any given day. Some events that are specifically about rescuing trees are listed on this calendar as “Tree Rescuers hands-on training in vine ID.”)
  2. Arrange with one of the current IMA volunteer site leaders to work under their supervision at their site.
  3. Become an FCPA Tree Rescuer (“Enterprise” volunteer) and work on your own.

Six Steps to Become a

FCPA Tree Rescuer Volunteer

1) If you have not already done so, sign up as a FCPA Tree Rescuer on the County

Volunteer page -

2) Complete important

required for FCPA volunteers (under 30 minutes). This has two parts.

a. Training for All FCPA Volunteers - please complete all four training modules and

email the training sign off form to (Attn: Heidi Allen).

b. Outdoor-based Volunteer Training Module- please complete the training module

and email the training sign off form to (Attn: Heidi


3) Learn about the invasive vines:

a. Carefully watch this video:

GwQqpYdIpyumJ&index=7&t=1056s on the most common invasive vines in the

area (34 minutes).

b. Please review the section on the bottom half of . Note the

cheat sheet that you can print and take with you. This can help you with the

Quizzes as well as identification in the field.

4) Take the vine ID quiz

a. This is an open notes quiz. We want to make sure you can use the references

and guides to identify the plants at your site.

b. You need >90% to pass the quiz.

c. The quiz may be repeated as many times as needed.

d. Please take a screen shot and email it to .

5) Study the rules and regulations on the attached information sheet and then take the

rules and safety quiz

a. You need 100% to pass the quiz.

b. The quiz can be repeated as many times as needed.

c. Please take a screen shot and email it to .

6) Schedule a site visit/review of work. This needs to be done with a specifically trained

IMA site/volunteer leader. Email to schedule this.

If you have any questions or problems, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Rules and Regulations:

1) You must work independently or with other people who have gone through the FCPA Tree Rescuer


2) You MAY NOT have untrained volunteers working with you.

3) You may only clip (or saw) invasive non-native vines from trees.

4) You MAY NOT pull vines from the ground.*

5) DO NOT pull vines down from trees. This can hurt the trees and injure you.

6) Please log your hours through your volunteer account, accessed at this         (see instructions below).

* Pulling vines from the ground can cause erosion and allows the seeds of other invasive plants to come to the surface. Our goal is toprotect our trees until a more permanent solution is available. Some vines can be killed over time when they are cut back repeatedly.

Deer Management – Fairfax County Park Authority partners with the Police Department on the deermanagement program. Please be aware that hunters may be out at the park from early September to the end ofFebruary anytime from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Typically hunters are out aboutthree hours in the morning and three hours in the evening.

Herbicide/Contractors – As part of the integrated pest management, the Park Authority implements the use of

herbicides (only applied by certified pesticide applicators) to treat invasive species on parkland. To managecertain invasive species in wooded areas, herbicide is a necessary tool from our toolbox for habitat restorationand protection. If you are not comfortable with this, volunteering as a Tree Rescuer on parkland my not be asuitable opportunity. Please contact or  if you have

any concerns.

iNaturalist – It is helpful for our ecologists to know what plants are causing problems in which parks. It is alsohelpful for them to learn about the trees that are affected. The best way to do this is to take pictures of all of theinvasive vine species and the native trees that are saved. If you want to help with this, upload iNaturalist ( on your phone. Then join the project labeled “Volunteer observations in FairfaxCounty Parks.”

Report hours – You will need to report your hours on your volunteer account found

Reporting hours is important and helps the program obtain resources. This information may be used to help us

evaluate the efficacy and future use of the program..

Reporting your hours:

1) Log into the volunteer page.

2) Once logged on you will be on a page which gives you an overview of your service. Click on “Report

Hours” on the left-hand side.

3) Click on “Select an Opportunity” and click on Tree Rescuers FCP: Natural Resource Management

4) Fill out the following

a. Date

b. Number of hours that you worked

c. Choose if your park is small, large, or staffed (you can play around with this, most parks are

not staffed unless there is a Visitors, Nature or Rec Center)

d. Then scroll through the park names and select your park

e. Select the invasive vine(s) species that you cut.

f. Click submit

It would also be super helpful if you would report the trees saved on  . You are welcome to accumulate a number of trees (20+) before reporting or report at the end of a week or a couple of weeks.

Debris Management: Unfortunately at this time the parks are currently understaffed and we have no way of handling the debris. We ask that you either leave the vine debris on a log to dry and die or you take it to be disposed in your regular trash. Please DO NOT put out into yard waste as this is used to create leaf mulch and can increase the spread of invasive vines in the county. Please bag any berries and dispose in your regular trash.

Plants to study:

The six most common invasive plants in our parks that can kill trees:

1) English ivy

2) Japanese honeysuckle

3) Multiflora Rose

4) Oriental (Asian) bittersweet

5) Porcelain berry

6) Wintercreeper

Somewhat less common invasive vines that kill trees

1) Five-leaf Akebia/chocolate vine

2) Kudzu

3) Sweet Autumn Clematis

4) (Asian) Wisteria

Two annual invasive vines that kill small trees – Note clipping these vines will stop seed production, so please

cut, and bag if seeds are present.

1) Japanese hops

2) Mile-a-minute

Five native vines commonly seen in our parks – do not clip these!!

1) (Native) grapes (a few different species)

2) Greenbrier

3) Poison ivy

4) Virginia creeper

5) Trumpet vine

Other native look-a-likes seen less often

1) American bittersweet

2) Native rose – swamp and pasture

3) Coral honeysuckle

4) Crossvine

5) Native Virgin’s bower


FCPA identification 

MAIPC invasive plants and native look-a-like pgs. 18,19, 22-29

Blue Ridge Prism

The Tree Rescuer’s plant ID photos (

This US Forest .

And this invasive plant atlas 

If you have any questions or problems please contact us at