Native grasses at Paw Paw Park

Paw Paw Park is transforming from a highly manicured golf course to a more natural area. We continue to manage the ups and downs of changing from turf grass to diverse ecosystems.

In areas where invasive species currently dominate native plants, we will be ”starting over” with the goal of establishing native grasses that can be managed long-term. This will reduce invasive plants, such as Canada thistle and Poison hemlock, while improving the park for recreation.

At first, this transformation may look a bit rough, but we look forward to the improvements to follow.

Canada thistle
Canada thistle (Jan-Samanek)


Poison hemlock
Poison hemlock (Wikipedia Commons)

You may notice the poison hemlock flower looks very similar to Queen Anne’s lace. Poison hemlock grows significantly taller and has a smooth stem with purple splotches. Queen Anne’s lace has a hairy stem. Click here for more comparison information.

About the Author

Jessica VanGinhoven

Jessica is the media contact for the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Department:, (616) 994-4716