On Friday, October 20th, the James River Association (JRA) and the Upper and Middle James Riparian Consortium (Consortium) hosted a buffer maintenance workshop in North Garden, Virginia. During the workshop, participants got an introduction to riparian buffer maintenance, including invasive species identification and removal, tree shelter maintenance, survival checks, and mowing.

The James River Buffer Program (JRBP) helps landowners in the James River watershed install riparian buffers on their properties at no cost to the landowner. The JRBP maintains the buffers for three years after they are planted. Many workshop attendees were JRBP landowners who were phasing out of their three years of maintenance and wanted to learn how to keep their buffer healthy and thriving.

The day began with breakfast, coffee, and a short presentation about the JRBP. The group then went outside to learn and discuss the identification and management of invasive species. They identified Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), Japanese Stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), and Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora), among others, and learned how and when to use different maintenance techniques such as hand pulling, hack, and squirt, and foliar spray. After learning about invasive species, the crowd gathered across the farm at the riparian buffer area and saw a demonstration on performing tree shelter maintenance. They also discussed favorite tools and techniques when performing buffer maintenance.

JRA and the Consortium are excited to have the opportunity to host another buffer workshop in the Upper James in Lexington, Virginia with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) on November 13th! This is a free workshop. Coffee and breakfast will be provided. Please be prepared to work with plants outdoors and wear weather-appropriate clothing. Registration is limited to 30 people, so sign up fast if you’re interested! You can contact Casey Johnson at lcjohnson@thejamesriver.org with any questions.