Tom's Blog

Monday, May 26, 2008

Early restoration work in the East Basin

The East Basin, a small (4.2 acres) isolated valley on the far eastern end of Pleasant Valley Conservancy, is the last area being restored. Because of its location, it did not connect well with the rest of the Conservancy and so was ignored. This area faces south and southwest and in the 1937 air photo was completely open and was probably prairie. (It was the farthest from the barn and was probably never grazed.)

During the 70 years since that air photo was taken, this site gradually filled in with primarily undesirable trees and brush. Last winter (December 2007-March 2008) we cleared this whole basin, and most of the cut trees have been removed for fire wood. Also, a neighbor moved in a small saw mill and has turned the largest black walnuts into lumber.

We decided that we would wait to see what came up spontaneously before we started serious restoration. In an earlier post I mentioned the large numbers of shooting stars now in flower.

In addition to the good plants, there are many bad plants, including scattered brambles, honeysuckle, and buckthorn. Past experience has shown that once an area has been opened up and sunlight is available, these invaders will thrive. Therefore we decided to eradication them now, while they are small. For this purpose, we are spraying all of the resprouts and small plants with Garlon 3A, an herbicide effective against woody species.

A crew of workers is now passing through this whole unit and spraying all undesirables. In addition to the shrubs, this includes Canada goldenrod and Canada thistle, two invasive forbs.

The idea here is that a small amount of expense now will save a huge amount of expense later. I wish we had taken this approach with all of the other areas we cleared!


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