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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Reclaiming What I Lost

Each year, in the winter, I work at improving the woodland (my "would-be-woods" I tend to call it).  I have easier access to it this time of the year...each summer it fills in densely with pioneer species (such as goldenrod).  I'd be okay if it were just native species that are intermediate in the succession process, but all too often I have non-natives and invasives--mainly mugwort.  The mugwort has run rampant in the woodland since I last cleared it.

I'm embarrassed to show how I let the mugwort out of hand.
After cutting back the forsythia, the bare ground underneath 
erupted in mugwort.

The woodland, though not as overgrown, has its share of 
mugwort as well.

Last weekend, while walking the property, I decided to venture into the woodland which has been mostly off limits to me over the past 6 months or more.  With hope that this will be a year of vast improvements, I set off for the camera and the sickle.  I ended up cutting through the mostly fallen mugwort to make the paths more visible and more viable.  I made it through the main path (the one that was most grown in as well) and part way through a thicker section above (and on the edge of) the woodland.  Later, in the spring, a biologist from the WHIP program is supposed to come to check out what I have growing and to make suggestions about the best way to remove the invasives.
Of the small trees, I've been putting in each spring, the one that has impressed me the most so far, is the spicebush.  It has grown tall and filled in nicely--the biggest of the five or so that I put in so far.  I'm assuming this is the perfect site for it.

The spicebush I put in is going strong...
it is hard to see from the photo, but it is taller 
than me, and well on its way to maturity.

We got things done in the house yesterday, and today, I worked on the outside.  I still have to get my seeds planted in the next couple of weeks, but all in all it has been a good, and fairly productive winter. :)


Rebecca said...

I'm jealous of your spicebush. I have to fight the deer for mine, even though they're only a few feet from our house and that of the next-door neighbor.

At least, all of our mugwort is at the creeping stage and easy to pull out.

David said...

You have me hoping that the deer around here don't develop a taste for it. I thought it was one of the "deer resistant" plants...I guess I thought the scent of the crushed leaves would be a turn off--but what do I know? :)

So far, it seems to be faring well...especially considering that it is in the pocket woodland far from the house.

Hopefully, if you could protect yours with a piece of wire fence wrapped to make a cylinder, you should be able to keep them from eating it down, so it can get strong enough to grow out of their reach. Once it is tall enough, you can remove the fencing, and if the deer eat it, they will only eat the bottom half. :) Good luck.

David said...

I hope you are right about the mugwort...I think most of it (in other spots in the yard) have become well established.

I plan to see if I can smother it with cardboard covered in leaves or mulch.