Habitat Improvement

Read about our ongoing habitat improvement work.

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Sep 04

Restoration Prep – Laying the Foundation for a Successful Planting

Posted on September 4, 2018 at 12:49 PM by Allan Warren

Chris mowing blackberriesPCD’s Chris Towe maneuvers a tractor with a mower attachment through a wall of blackberries near South Prairie Creek. Having the right tools can make quick work of what might otherwise seem a very daunting task!

Let’s cut to the chase: Preparing a habitat restoration site is usually a lot of work. Project areas have often experienced varying degrees of disturbance and alteration from their original environment. Invasive weeds almost always dominate the landscape. Habitat degradation that has transpired over the course of dozens of years, we are asked to turn around in just a year or two, sometimes less!

Coming up with an effective plan to prepare a site for planting with native plants requires balancing a number of factors, including: budget, staff and crew resources, what equipment can access the site, is herbicide an option, what issues do we need to deal with (trash, soil compaction, types of weeds), how much time do we have, and so on. Sometimes we get to try new techniques; sometimes we do the best we can with what we have to work with. We are constantly learning from our successes, our failures, and from the experiences of others.

We Have Two Upcoming Planting Parties:
Saturday, September 29th at Dropstone Farm. Click here for more info
Saturday, October 13th at South Prairie Creek Preserve. Click here for more info

When all is said and done, our goal is to most efficiently and effectively prepare a site for the best restoration success possible. We try to eradicate, or at least “knock down,” invasives to minimize competition for water, nutrients, and sunlight. We work to make sites accessible and safe for volunteers and others who will install the trees and shrubs. We plan for how we’ll maintain the site and prepare accordingly. We want our new plants to flourish and thrive, to turn that field of reed canary grass, blackberries, knotweed (pick your favorite invasive!) into a diverse and complex plant community that provides critical ecological benefits to our streams, soils, and wildlife.