Americana Park
Native Meadow Restoration

What: Native Meadow Planting
When: April 29 & 30, 2016
Where: Americana Park, 4301 Accotink Parkway, Annandale, 22003

On Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30th, Volunteers from Northern Virginia Community College, Volunteers for Change, George Mason University, and Master Naturalists joined Friends of Accotink Creek and Stormwater Planning Division to extend the meadow planted in 2015 across the park driveway. Stormwater Planning prepared the area in advance, clearing away the invasive thorns and shrubs, ripping and tilling the compacted soils, and seeding native grasses.

Prior to the arrival of the Volunteers for these two planting days, Stormwater Planning contracted to deeply rip and till the existing compacted field to improve soil density and porosity for better infiltration and plant establishment. This work revealed that the site was actually a compacted gravel parking lot complete with submerged timber wheel stops. Even the thin layer of non-native invasive plants that covered the gravel were inhibited by the lack of soil depth. Although there was still gravel intermixed, the dense hard pan that was 4” below the surface was broken and the soil was workable.

When the Volunteers arrived on Friday morning there were 1,000 grasses and forbs in containers waiting for planting; all were grown specifically for Americana Park by Earth Sangha at their new greenhouse facility available to them through a partnership with Fairfax County Park Authority. The Volunteers coaxed the plants into the newly prepared bed, albeit a bit rocky, watered and re-spread straw. Twenty eight species of native grasses and wildflowers were installed along with “no-mow" signs around the perimeter of both meadows. When all that was complete, volunteers continued to work pulling invasives at the adjacent Invasive Management Area site, transplanting last year’s perennials out of the mowers realm into the ‘no-mow’ area, and touring the phase one meadow.

This project has taken an acre of mowed turf and gravel parking lot out of routine maintenance and replaced it with a living sponge of soil and vegetation; the perennial native grasses and forbs have the potential to grow to 4 feet in height and to even greater depths. Already the phase one meadow is reducing the amount of standing water after storms. Besides increasing the water holding capacity of the soil system, this diverse native plant collection will support a great variety of native pollinators, birds and mammals including the local Barn swallows and Red-shouldered hawks that use the urban constructs (concrete bridges and steel towers) to their advantage. - May 1, 2016

See all our Americana Meadow Planting photos here.

*Read about the 2015 Americana meadow planting.