Smaller specimens were cut and sprayed as I mowed last fall. I thought I would get better results if the larger ones were left until they began their spring growth. Buds have now swelled and leaves are beginning to unfurl, so I’ve begun to systematically remove the remainder of the trees that I have determined should not be allowed to grow in the field. There’s nothing horrible about these trees. They are native species that are quite desirable in other locations. It’s just that the field is managed for sun loving prairie type grasses and forbs and the trees don’t fit that mix.
I’m still maintaining a scattering of White Flowering Dogwood, various
oak species and a couple of Virginia Pine.
Everything else goes and some of those have gotten rather large.
trees that are left are spaced far enough apart to allow sunlight to reach the
ground on all sides.
The most aggressive
field invaders are those species with light seeds that are carried by the
wind. Their seed can easily cover a
field in a single season. Heavy seeded
trees often depend on animals such as squirrels of Blue Jays that bury the
seeds in open fields as a future food source. Unclaimed acorns become the oaks
I am encouraging.
trees are broken down last and the trunks used to weigh down the pile of
springy branches. Brush piles in this
condition are much favored by House Wrens as nesting sites.
It takes only a few years for this species to
go from a seedling to a three inch diameter tree. The smaller the tree, the easier it is to cut
and treat, so the fields should be checked for new sprouts each year. That means I have to allow time for
maintenance. Every time I do something
new, it adds another item to my maintenance list. Eventually I reach a point where I don’t have
time to do all of the maintenance, let alone do anything new. That’s why I’m now dealing with larger sized
trees in this field. I knew years ago,
when these trees were just seedlings, that they should be cut, but at the time,
I was busy doing something else that I considered to be of greater
importance. That is called management
and management is what I do at Blue Jay Barrens.
I’ll do what maintenance I can here, but I
most likely won’t do any major work in this field until the next time the
invading trees reach a point that they can no longer be ignored.
3 hours ago