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Old 07-30-2012, 06:46 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,385 times
Reputation: 10

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I live in a planned use development community in Fairfax County, VA. My problem is that I live next to an open space area on which uncontrolled weeds are allowed to grow except for the time when the pipeline company which has an easement cuts the area to check out their pipeline. The weeds grow in excess of 6 feet and harbor ticks, mice, mosquitoes, poison ivy and many other unhealthy weeds. One individual, although our land use committee voted to mow this area, has successfully convinced our board that we need to keep the weeds in order to protect monarch butterflies and blue birds and save money on mowing. Residents are prohibited from mowing the area. When we walk our pets on the path through the area, they come back loaded with ticks. I, although, have never walked in wooded areas have developed Lyme disease which I understand is a major problem in this county along with West Nile Virus. Our board has the attitude that since it is not in their backyard, it doesn't need to be cut. I am very concerned about the health issues involved with allowing such an area to exist in such closed proximity to our property. If we were to allow our yards to get in such a state, the board would fine us. What can we do? Any suggestions?
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:02 AM
 
1,256 posts, read 3,942,841 times
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We need to protect the monarch butterflies and the blue birds - open undeveloped fields are a delight.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 29,038,416 times
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Reston and other neighborhoods nearby have had wildlife sanctuary areas for more than 40 years, and they're quite popular. What looks like a patch of weeds to you are considered beautiful sanctuaries to others, so the odds are you would have a hard time fighting this. Look at the bright side, at least you're saving some money.

ps. Have you noticed that bald eagles and songbirds have made a dramatic return to this area, even though we're a large metro area that's growing? In particular, it's nice to see bluebirds again--there had been a worry that all our growth was wiping them out. Tiger swallowtails are also thriving. I like living in a metro area that's found a way to co-exist with nature.

Last edited by Caladium; 07-30-2012 at 07:19 AM..
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:25 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 5,202,205 times
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I agree these areas are a problem. A wildlife sanctuary doesn't have to be just uncontrolled weeds. In fact, in many cases these areas are filled with non-native invasive species of plants that aren't even that good for our native wildlife. It is possible to landscape a much better are by deliberately planting appropriate species of plants for butterflies and birds - looks beautiful and is more usable for everyone and everything. However, it sounds like your choice is just letting it grow weeds or mowing it. Mowing isn't any good either.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 29,038,416 times
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I like the idea of planting native plants, if the problem is the unsightliness of the weeds. You could volunteer to do this as your gift to the community, so that there won't be concerns that buying native plants will affect the budget. If the ticks in that area are really that bad, mowing wouldn't help as much as you might think. Yes, ticks live in long blades of grass, but they also live in mulch, shrubbery, woodpiles, leaf debris, etc. Your best bet is to wear long pants when walking through that area (or avoid walk through the area altogether). Wear light colors (ticks are attracted to dark colors) and tuck your pant legs into your socks. Use tick-prevention spray on your shoes, pant legs and exposed skin.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:48 AM
 
2,688 posts, read 6,292,178 times
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Is the area owned by your association or by the county? Maybe your Supervisor could help?
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:31 PM
 
1,403 posts, read 2,001,558 times
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My recommendation would be to emphasize to the Board the significantly negative health consequences of harboring ticks. Ticks thrive in tall weeds. They carry a host of diseases -- Lyme has become epidemic in this area due to high deer and field mice populations. Our Lyme infection rate in NoVA is approaching that of CT.

Although there is much dispute about Lyme disease, there is some evidence that Lyme that is undetected and untreated early on can present a lifetime of health woes. The best solution is to make the habitat less Lyme friendly and that includes cutting short or removing weeds.

Perhaps you should distribute this (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme...s/handbook.pdf) to the Board.
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:36 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
38,438 posts, read 50,047,080 times
Reputation: 50764
You should just have it paved over. It is Northern VA, after all.

Is it a planned wild flower meadow? If so, many native species look like weeds to the untrained eye. Also, as someone else mentioned who's the owner? Your HOA may not have any right to mow it in any event.
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
274 posts, read 657,994 times
Reputation: 99
Nice post! I saw a blue bird for the first time this year, have been trying to encourage swallowtails and live near one of the pipeline areas. I would prefer that the deer had a place to hide during the summer months, plenty of "shaved" areas near our HOA paths. I've lost four trees due to the storms, so I am greatly diminishing my hosting responsibilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Reston and other neighborhoods nearby have had wildlife sanctuary areas for more than 40 years, and they're quite popular. What looks like a patch of weeds to you are considered beautiful sanctuaries to others, so the odds are you would have a hard time fighting this. Look at the bright side, at least you're saving some money.

ps. Have you noticed that bald eagles and songbirds have made a dramatic return to this area, even though we're a large metro area that's growing? In particular, it's nice to see bluebirds again--there had been a worry that all our growth was wiping them out. Tiger swallowtails are also thriving. I like living in a metro area that's found a way to co-exist with nature.
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