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A new city project will introduce native plants to help transform a badly overgrown area of the recreational trail at Maitland Community Park.
The western edge of the park, located at 1400 Mayo Ave., is bordered by an outdoor trail and a large wall separating the park from neighboring homes. For years, the ground and several trees have been covered in a sprawling blanket of exotic wild Taro – an invasive species of fast-growing plants from Asia that easily spread and crowd out most other plants (See image 1).
The Maitland Public Works Department recently started work to clear some of the Taro plants. Within two weeks, the new Florida friendly plants will be added. Two Florida native species will be used as the primary replacement plants.
Simpson’s Stopper (image 2) is a native Florida shrub that flowers in the spring and creates colorful berries that attract birds like Buntings, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Mockingbirds. These plants also provide ideal natural ground cover underneath the shady canopy of tall trees at the park.
The other primary plant to be installed is Red Maple (image 3). Red Maples are a Florida native tree that changes leaf colors in the fall and can grow up to 80 feet tall and 35 feet wide.
Beautyberry plants (image 4) are sprawling native shrubs that grow up to 8 feet high, growing pink flowers in the spring and summer that develop into jewel-like fruits – called drupes - in the fall to also attract birds to the park.