The landscaped gardens of Riverside Park have played supporting roles in a number of big Hollywood movies.

But just steps from the flowers are forests that are now in need of a little sprucing up.

"I think that's a surprise to a lot of New Yorkers that there's so much natural woodland area in our parks around our city," said Daniel Garodnick, the president & CEO of the Riverside Park Conservancy. "And we need to protect it."

To do that, the Conservancy is teaming up with a group called the Natural Areas Conservancy to develop plans to clean up the park's 60 acres of forest.

Tackling the problem of invasive plants like English ivy is high on the to-do list. Those plants have blanketed the ground and wrapped themselves around branches, making it harder for native trees to get sunlight and grow.

"It's really kind of a competition game of who can survive best in a crowded city environment," said Sarah Charlop-Powers, the executive director of the Natural Areas Conservancy

Invasive species are a special problem, in part because New York is an international city, drawing cargo ships and people from all over. Those visitors from around the world sometimes accidentally bring seeds with them.

Officials said if the invading plants aren't cleared out, some trees could die.

"The kind of scenario we see in some of the parks that are most degraded is just walls of vines where you can't see through," Charlop-Powers said. "And we also see over time the death of our mature trees and transition to what looks like huge weedy patches."

The Natural Areas Conservancy is working with other parks across the five boroughs. The goal is to come up with plans to care for the city's more than seven thousand acres of forest.