Tom's Blog

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Opening up some nice trees

This winter Amanda has been taking advantage of the light snow to continue clearing brush on the North Woods. Because it seems especially interesting, we are focusing on the NE corner.

The 1937 air photo above shows this corner of the property. There is a group of large trees right near the property line (the straight blue line), although all of those east of the line are gone (there is a house there now). The road is County Highway F and the driveway across from the woods at that time went to the Joe Dybdahl farm. The small black dots to the west of the large trees are either young trees or clumps of brush, and probably suggest a logging operation. It is not surprising that this area would have been logged, since it is relatively level and close to the road.

Before we started clearing this corner, the brush and small trees were so thick that you could not see into the woods. As we climbed around in this area, I noticed several large trees, remnants from those visible in the 1937 air photo. It seemed reasonable to "daylight" these trees, and today Amanda and Diane did just that. The preliminary result can be seen in the photo below.
A quick survey showed that these trees (probably northern red oaks, Quercus rubra) were originally open grown (savanna) oaks, but most of the large lower branches are now dead. Dead lower branches is a common occurrence when savannas are allowed to brush in. We plan to help keep this area open by burning this corner of the woods next November when we do our biennial woods burn.

We also planted this area about two weeks ago, so we can expect to eventually have a good herbaceous understory. Progress is made a few steps at a time!


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