Volunteers trim Park Avenue shrubs for safety and plant health

A major pruning of shrubs on the Park Avenue median parks has left the parks cleaner and safer, if for a time a little naked. The BHCA Greening Committee determined that the euonymus shrubs surrounding the fountains – which historically have been pruned to a height of about 3-5 feet every four years or so –  had grown too large for the garden areas surrounding the fountains. They had expanded several feet over the black chain-link borders that edge the sidewalks, narrowing the sidewalk access points and obliterating view corridors to the fountains.

Their super-sized growth had also smothered the daylilies, hostas and other perennials that used to be a feature of these gardens in years past. While the exterior of most of the shrubs was beautiful, the euonymus had grown so large that their interiors became a mangled thicket of leggy branch growth, with leaves only on the outermost couple of inches. The shrubs were becoming a security, sanitation and a visual concern, and for these reasons it was determined that a light pruning would not solve the issues and that a heavy cutback was necessary.

The volunteers included members of the BHCA Greening Committee. Also in attendance were several Baltimore City Tree Keepers, experienced neighborhood gardeners, residents and property owners of the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Park Avenue.

While the change was dramatic and the fountain areas look a bit forlorn for now, euonymus are legendary for their hardiness and resilience, and are expected to send out lots of new growth, albeit at a lower height than their previous incarnation. Moving forward, the Greening Committee is discussing a plan to plant non-invasive and native perennials in the gardens surrounding the fountains.

Thanks to Gary Schilling and Chris Ryder for organizing the pruning day and for their hours of labor as well as the labor from Fritz Meyer, Kyle Cunningham, Lee Tawney, Vanessa Billings, Mark Anderson, Teddy Meyers, Nate Adams, and Greg Baranoski.

Greg Baranoski