Armed with shovels, picks and "weed wrenches," dozens of community volunteers descended on Anchorage's Valley of the Moon park on Saturday to do their best to eradicate an invasive tree that is threatening the long-term health of the forest.

The European bird cherry tree, commonly known as the mayday tree, is an ornamental tree that has steadily spread from yards to trails and forests throughout Anchorage.

This year marks the fourth annual Anchorage Weed Smackdown, an event sponsored by various local, state and federal agencies. Work of years past can be seen along the Chester Creek trail near Valley of the Moon.

The edges of the effort clearly show the invasive nature of the tree, with open forest floor giving way to thick growth that chokes out other native plant species.

For more information on the Weed Smackdown, and to learn more about invasive plant species in Anchorage, visit weedwar.net.