Tom's Blog

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Finding the rare sweet clover plant

My earlier post described the evils of sweet clover and techniques we are using to deal with large-scale infestations. However, it is also important to find the rare sweet clover plant that might have been missed. Why? Because any missed plant will likely flower and produce seeds which will be the source of next year's infestation. If we are going to eradicate a natural area of sweet clover we need to eliminate every plant.

The photo here shows our interns and staff working across the south-facing slope at Pleasant Valley Conservancy. The approach is similar to what is used in a crime-scene investigation.

A fairly tight line is formed which moves slowly across the site. Each person walks with head down, looking for the rare plant. Every plant is pulled as it is found. If a patch is found, the workers all coalesce and deal with it, and then return to their line.

The leader, Heisley, in the orange shirt, stays somewhat out in front, maintaining the pace.

When the end of the unit is reached, the line moves down, turns around, and returns. The search is continued in this way until the whole unit is covered.


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