Part of the reason for the vegetation difference is a change in topography and soil conditions. The ground becomes more level and receives flood water from the small waterway nearby. That makes for an uncommonly wet area at Blue Jay Barrens.
The other reason this is so different is because I have not done any clearing in this area. This is the last stronghold of the Multiflora Rose at Blue Jay Barrens and although I’ve worked up to the edges, I have yet to penetrate the heart of the infestation. Weather permitting; I’ll begin knocking down these roses in the next few weeks. The ground is dry enough, but I would like it to be cold enough for me to wear my heavy coat, gloves and big hat with ear flaps while I do the work. Roses don’t go down without a fight and I need all the protective gear I can manage if I’m going to get the work done without looking like I lost a battle with a tiger.
Another difficulty in dealing with this area is the number of fallen trees hidden among the roses and honeysuckle. It’s hard to cut the roses because of the downed trees and it’s just as difficult to remove the trees because of the tangled rose canes.
The canes of a large rose bush arch out in all directions. The clutter of limbs on the ground makes it difficult to push the branches out of the way in order to get close enough to cut them off at the ground. After it’s cut, I’ll have to be extra careful not to harm the native grape fern growing at the base of the rose when I spray the sprouts next spring.
The tangle begins to thin as the ground rises to the left. I’ll leave as many trees as possible as I clear this area. Box Elder, Willow and Green Ash are the most abundant trees in the wetter ground.
There are just a few small oak seedlings here. Once this one loses its leaves it’ll probably be too short to be hit by the mower.
The hillside contains larger trees and fewer invasive shrubs. Japanese Honeysuckle is still present, but it now climbs on Hazelnut instead of Multiflora Rose.