Tom's Blog

Saturday, December 8, 2018

How long does it really take to get rid of invasive brush?

We first cleared the South Slope of Pleasant Valley Conservancy in 1998-1999. We instituted an annual burn program almost immediately, although some of the areas were hard to burn  (not enough fuel). Also, lots of brush that had been suppressed because of the deep shade popped up almost immediately. Brambles, buckthorn, and honeysuckle were the worst, although sumac was bad in some areas. The annual burns kept the shrubs fairly small, but did not eradicate them. We kept cutting and treating, and burning and burning.

The two photos shown here are interesting. They were both taken from about the same location, looking down from the top of the slope. When I took the 2003 photo it was a photo point as part of a series I did every year. It's hard to believe, but I thought the area was in pretty good shape. (It's also hard to believe, but this photo was taken with a Nikon "film" camera!)

The second photo was taken last summer from almost the same location. What a difference! Visible in the photo are Echinacea pallida and Silphium lacinatum. And of course, prairie grasses to carry a fire.

View from the Far Overlook (Leopold bench) in early September 2003

View from the same location at the end of July 2018. All the woodies visible are bur oaks!

The moral of this story? The restoration ecologist needs patience!


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