Spring Planting at the Macnamara Trail

Volunteers needed!  Help “spruce up” the Macnamara trailhead by planting native shrubs on Saturday, 11 May between 10 am and 12 noon.  Bring a shovel, a bucket, a garbage bag, and loppers and/or pruners.  Wear sturdy boots.  Park at the trailhead lot on McNab Street.  We’ll plant rain or shine unless it’s pouring.  Please register by emailing trail@mfnc.ca so we know how many are coming and can contact you if we have to cancel.

Last year our club received a grant to help refresh the Macnamara Trail.  Planting native shrubs at the trailhead to replace invasive species like buckthorn is one of our first trail refresh activities.

We did some clean-up of the trailhead area in the fall, but our first task will be to remove garbage, pull out emerging garlic mustard and dig up or prune back any buckthorn we may have missed.  Then we will plant 23 shrubs, water them well, and cover them with mulch.

We’ve selected native flowering shrubs that produce blooms for pollinators and berries for wildlife across the seasons:

    • – Canada Plum (Prunus nigra) – This is one of our earliest flowering shrubs, lighting up bare rural hedgerows with it white blossoms in early May before it and other plants leaf out.  Its flowers provide food for early pollinators. The edible fruit is yellowish-red to red.  Fall foliage is bright orange to pink to red.  We’ll be planting this along the edges of the parking lot
    • – Canada Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) – Elderberry flowers in July with licorice-smelling dome-shaped flower heads that are a favourite of bees and butterflies.  Birds and deer eat the black fruit as soon as it ripens.  Elderberry spreads via underground runners, putting up new canes as it “walks” across the landscape so we’ll give these plants lots of room to grow.
    • – Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) – Nannyberry has showy, white flat year flower heads in late May that become clusters of drooping blue-black fruit in late summer.  It likes damp conditions and grow quite big so we’ll place it near the back.
    • – Alternate-leaf Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) – This dogwood is an attractive tree/shrub that should be more widely planted in our own gardens. It blooms in late May/early June under open tree canopies and produces blue-black fruit.

Canada Plum, Nannyberry, and Alternate-leaf Dogwood are all currently found on the Macnamara Trail.

Prunus nigra - Canada Plum

Prunus nigra – Canada Plum