A large area of the Ward River Valley is dominated by the non-native Cherry Laurel shrub.
Work is due to start this week to remove the invasive species and this work is likely to have a dramatic effect on certain parts of the park.
The Cherry Laurel shrub which is very common in gardens around Swords, has grown out of control in parts of the Ward River Valley forming a dense canopy which is blocking out the light for other species.
A press release from Fingal County Council states:
“Cherry Laurel clearance works are set to commence at The Usher’s Lake area of Ward River Park on Monday 18th September. The entrance to the park on The Old Brackenstown Road will be closed on the 18th and 19th September and small areas of the park will be closed to the public while works are ongoing. These works are carried out in accordance with recommendations contained in the Woodland Management Plan produced for The Ward River Regional Park.
“Cherry Laurel is a non-native invasive shrub that creates dense shady conditions. This makes it very difficult for other plants and trees to germinate or grow underneath the Cherry Laurel. If left to their own device, the Laurel will eventually dominate the entire woodland. The Council is keen to restore native woodland in the park with wide variety of trees and plants. By removing the Cherry Laurel sunlight will reach the soil again, which will allow for the natural germination of trees and typical woodland plants. The works are part of the ongoing Ward River Regional Park Development Project which aims to create a vastly enhanced Ward River Regional Park covering an 80-hectare (200 Acres) area between Swords town centre and Knocksedan Bridge. The delivery of the Regional Park Project will help meet the demands of a growing population in the county town as well as providing an appealing destination for visitors to Swords.”
Cllr Ian Carey said:
“This is a badly needed action as cherry laurel is completely out of control down there and some of the biggest examples I have ever seen. Aside from the laurel, the native oak woodland in the valley is one of the best examples in the county and we have to allow it the space to grow and mature. Right now the oak is being swallowed up by cherry laurel.
“These works are going to have quite a dramatic effect in some areas and they will mean large swathes of dense shrub being removed. I hope we can communicate the value of this to the public, so people who really love the wild areas of the valley are not too alarmed by this.”