Monday, October 18, 2010

Thicket Clearing

This is the time of year that I plan for the management work I’ll be doing this coming winter. For the past two years I’ve been removing invasives and other undesirable vegetation from this fence row. The remaining trees are all natives and you can now see through into the thicket in the next field.

The open field grasses and forbs are just beginning to move into the fence row area. Up until last winter invasives like Honeysuckle and Autumn Olive were so thick that very little ground cover existed. There are still many non-native and invasive species hidden down in the vegetation. It’ll take a couple more years of work before I’ll be able to say that the invasives are under control in this area.

Last year I was able to clear a strip between the fence row on the right and the thicket. That opened up the edge of the thicket enough that I could see what I had to deal with.

The thicket will be cleared enough to allow sunlight for the grassland plants, but I’ll still leave clumps of shrubs to provide a winter wildlife food source. The Dwarf Sumac, now showing their red autumn leaves, will be left. Those Tuliptrees that are beginning to over top the sumacs will be removed.

On the far side of the thicket is a clump of Virginia Pine that will be left as is. The thicket has always been an area of increased bird activity. There are always nests in the shrubs and there are always birds foraging here in the winter. The deciduous trees are recent additions that I’m afraid will decrease the vigor of the shrubs. The Wild Black Cherry, Tuliptree and Ash will all be removed. Tuliptree and Ash are pretty easy to deal with, but Cherry has a profusion of branches that take for ever to cut up into bundles that will compact down into a brush pile.

This thicket is one of only two areas that still contain fruit bearing Autumn Olive. By next year I hope to make the claim that Blue Jay Barrens is no longer producing Autumn Olive seed. Of course the seed will still be coming in from neighboring properties and it will probably take the rest of my lifetime to track down and eliminate all of the seedlings now present. Still, it will be nice to think that Blue Jay Barrens is no longer a cause of the spread of this noxious shrub.


  1. I learn so much by reading your blog. I wish I had as much control over my front yard!

  2. Hi Steve...I hope I get a chance to do some invasive clearing.
    Mine is Wild honeysuckle and Autumn Olive.
    I not sure a this point it is going to happen.
    You really have your work cut out for you don't you!!

  3. I'm not sure how tough those opponents are. Here in the Pacific NW we battle Himalayan Blackberry, ivy, Japanese Knotweed, and countless others. I will never win, but if I keep at it each year and make some progress, it does seem to make a difference.

  4. Well, Lois, there are some days I don’t believe I have any control at all.

    Hi, grammie g. I hope you do get out to do some clearing, or at least just get out.

    Mike – My top invasives are Autumn Olive, Bush Honeysuckle, Japanese Honeysuckle and Multiflora Rose. There are others, but they aren’t spreading very much now. Autumn Olive is the worst to deal with because it seems to be somewhat resistant to glyphosate and it either resprouts from the root system or comes back as a mass of seedlings from seeds dropped beneath the bush.