Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cedar Maintenance

As winter weather wears down the tall grass, small cedars become more visible in the landscape. Removal of small cedars from the prairie is a continual maintenance activity. I’ll be working in this area during the winter.

Cedars are easy to remove because they do not regrow from the stump. Once cut off at ground level, they die. New cedars are introduced as seeds brought in by birds. This particular hillside is a favored roost area for flocks of Starlings. Huge Starling flocks come through each year and strip the cedars of their fruits. The birds, guts loaded with cedar berries, spend the night in the tall grass and poop out thousands of seeds. I’m lucky that only a small percentage of those seeds produce plants large enough for me to worry about.

Thick grass cover makes it difficult to find the cedars. It’s easy to eliminate cedars standing out in the open. Those hidden by a screen of tall grass are quite elusive and easily missed. They are the ones that show up a year later as a four foot tall tree and make you wonder how you could have possibly missed something so obvious.

Small cedars can be cut and left on the ground. I make sure to leave the cut cedar in a horizontal position, so I don’t keep returning to cut it again. Cedars less than two feet tall are usually totally decomposed in two years.

Sometimes I’ll carry off the cut cedar if it looks like it may be covering a plant of special concern. Other times I’ll move it if it spoils the view at the end of the day, when I take one last look to see what I’ve accomplished.

No comments:

Post a Comment