Barry Burton's Grove plans and marsh update
We had a meeting today about future work at Barry Burton's Grove. As you may or may not know, this area, between the north fence and Addison Drive is now being managed as part of the nature area. Charlotte, Cathey and I met with Zhanna Yermikov (Natural Areas Manager) and Becky Schillo (Volunteer Coordinator) of the CPD along with David Wachtel and Jason from Aramark.
We agreed upon a plan of action that will involve both the volunteers and Aramark doing work there in the next several months. Aramark will take care of herbiciding maple seedlings and weeds (like burdock) - which are there in abundance - and also preparing the turf for planting later in the fall. The volunteers will prepare and install a mulch path through the Grove leading from the parking lot to the gravel path. The idea here is that some fencing will be required to minimize trampling of the seeded areas - which will be most of the Grove. Fencing off the entire area isn't practical, in that many people would ignore the fence and either step over it or worse.
Late this summer, the entire area will be mowed very short in anticipation of seeding in November. The CPD has already purchased a seed mix for the area, but as we'd like to see the Grove being managed more as a shrubland than a woodland, we're looking to augment the mix with more grasses and lower stature forbs. Barry's sugar maples will stay, and most of the hackberries also, but a few trees will be removed after migration, including 2 non-native pines. The jack pines will stay, and we may be planting some white pines. Understory trees (especially Carpinus caroliniana aka American hornbeam aka blue beech and Crataegus crus-galli aka Cockspur Hawthorn ) will be planted along the split rail fence in the fall. Eventually this will form a barrier to cars trying to driving around the gate, so that we can remove most of the fence.
We also discussed other issues, including the fact that we'll likely need Aramark's help in working on controlling the iris in the marsh again. I don't know exactly what happened. While it's obvious that our efforts had some effect, it seems we didn't succeed in removing even 50% of the iris. Much more needs to be done. I think we need to try painting the cut leaves with 100% AquaNeat, because the 33% and 50% solutions we used last fall didn't work as well as I had hoped. This is particularly important because we'll have about 1800 plugs of marsh plants to install in June. So even though garlic mustard is on the agenda for the April 24th workday, we need to do this work in the marsh also.
After the meeting Cathey planted Blue Cohosh seeds around the Sanctuary, along with some Starry False Solomon's Seal in the Oak Savanna. I worked on herbiciding Lily of the Valley, which is becoming a huge problem in the Black Currant Swale, Tulip Tree Ridge, and Mayapple Ridge areas. I probably got to about 30% or 40% of what's in those areas.
Wildflowers in bloom today included Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone) along the north fence with Dentaria laciniata (Toothwort),Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches), and Cardmine douglassii (purple cress). We also found Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-Pulpit), Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells), Trillium grandiflorum (large white trillium) and Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh). Caltha palustris (marsh marigold) was blooming as an emergent in the marsh, now that the water level there has been raised by the CPD plumbers. Cathey planted these last fall after dividing some of the other plants growing on the bank of one of the streams, but didn't plant them in standing water. We wondered how they would do, as many plants were lost when the marsh was inundated by the beaver a couple of years ago. Then, they spent the winter months under at least a foot - and sometimes more - of water. However, today we discovered several plants blooming in the stream itself. These seem to be happy not just in standing water but also in flowing water.