Members of the Tapteal Greenway Association assisted by volunteers spent the day before Easter cleaning up and restoring a trail system that runs along the east side of the Yakima River just north of W. Van Giesen St. Their most difficult, some would say impossible, job is eradicating the Russian Olive that grows profusely all through the Yakima floodplain.
Russian olive is a native of southern Europe and western Asia. It was introduced to North America as a windbreak plant, and as an ornamental in the late 1800s. Unfortunately, Russian olive propagates easily, tolerates a variety of climate and soil conditions, and quickly takes over stream banks, lakeshores and prairies, and sandy floodplains choking out native vegetation of riparian habitat. They particularly like disturbed areas, roadsides, and pastures. Russian Olive interferes with nutrient cycling, taxes water reserves, and creates heavy shade that suppresses shorter plants requiring direct sunlight. As you can see from the photo below, it can also be a real eyesore.