Waterford burial site burns invasive plants

The Detroit News

Waterford — Flames filled the sky over an Oakland County burial ground Tuesday as crews used fire to fight an invasive plant.

All Saints Cemetery and The Preserve at All Saints conducted a controlled burn of phragmites along the burial grounds' border with Maceday Lake, hoping to contain the spread of the invasive plant.

Phragmites can grow several feet a year, squeezing out native plants and injuring birds with sharp billowy prines and leaves.

Russ Burns, cemetery director, said phragmites also interfere with scenic views of Maceday and Lotus lakes. "We want to make sure that native plants thrive and that our lakefront property is aesthetically pleasing for those families and individuals who want to have a view of these beautiful lakes when they visit their loved ones' graves, crypts or niches."

The burn was carried out by two area contractors, Native Landscapes of Clarkston and Plantwise of Ann Arbor. Native Landscapes specializes in native plants and shoreline restoration; Plantwise creates and restores native ecosystems in Michigan and Ohio.

All Saints offers traditional burials on 65 acres, while the 26-acre Preserve at All Saints provides "green" burials in which materials such as pine or wicker take the place of metal or concrete caskets.