Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I never know what project I'll start on...I've so many left undone, so when something sparks my interest, I pick up where I left off and start working.

Jeff told me to take it easy today since I'd apparently pulled a muscle in my abdomen while moving logs a few days ago. He told me not to lift anything heavy...so, I didn't. Instead, I pulled thick roots out of the ground by hand...and with a pick. Probably not the best choice, but when deciding what to work on, it is hard to hold off on a project that is calling to me. I ended up clearing most of the invasive Oriental bittersweet that a previous owner had planted along a fence remnant. This stuff has really begun to take over in the past two years. I'd hoped it was the American bittersweet, and if it was, I'd have moved a piece or two into the hedgerow where it could fight for its niche there away from the house and my other plantings...but this invasive one will not have a chance to out compete the natives trees and shrubs I'm putting there.

These vines strangle and girdle young trees never allowing natural succession to take place. I found this wrapped around what I think are young black walnut trees. I'm hoping to transplant them as leaving them there would change my plan for meadow and bluebird habitat. There is a small oak nearby that I will let grow to maturity..but the two black walnuts were to close to it and would create more of a woodland. I'm hoping the lone oak will create more of an oak savanna that will allow for the field wildflowers to continue to grow...and be open enough for the bluebirds to continue nesting here. The oak must've sprouted the first year we were here, so it will be a long time before I have to worry whether an oak savanna will work or not. :) I could've tried to relocate the oak as well, but I like the look of a mature oak tree growing out in the open. The others I have will be part of the woodland.

Surprisingly, the roots pulled up pretty easily...aside from having good loose soil, I think the freezing and thawing this time of year always seems to help. I've been able to remove the invasive bush honeysuckles by wrenching them out of the ground late winter and early spring as well.


Ellen Honeycutt said...

Let's hope those vines don't come back! I'm so glad we don't have that issue near me.

David said...


Well, I worked at it again today, and the roots seem to pull up pretty easily...but I expect some to come up from the smaller broken roots that I likely missed. I'll definitely keep after them.

The first few years I was here, I'd assumed it was the native--or hoped it was. The frost killed the flowers for several years in a row...and I'd planned to use the arrangement of the berries to identify which bittersweet it was. Thanks to a kind member from Wildlife Gardeners, I was able to identify it by the leaf and several other features. So, out it comes.

I do feel fortunate that it is in the middle of a field and not growing in the woods of hedgerow.