Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rose Control Area

One of my favorite management activities is to watch how areas progress after receiving some management treatment. Not because it’s so much easier than the physical work, but because it’s exciting to see an area produce an entirely new image. This is the site of my Multiflora Rose clearing last winter. A year ago your view from where I took this shot would have ended as solid rose leaves five feet from your face.

An attempt to walk to those far trees would have been a nightmare of snagged clothes and shredded skin. Now there is a healthy ground cover of native species. Most of these plants were present beneath the rose canopy, but were greatly diminished in size because of inadequate sunlight. Although small, they were in a position to grow rapidly once the roses were removed.

A bird’s eye view shows a lot of bare ground between the plants. Seedlings are already beginning to take advantage of the available space.

The Sensitive Ferns have really shown some fantastic growth. I remember seeing a few dwarfed plants hidden beneath the rose canes, but I never suspected they would respond so quickly to a little sunlight.

Mayapples likewise took full advantage of the removal of competition. As things continue to develop, the competition will return and each species will be struggling to maintain a presence in the mix. The good part is that it will now be competition between different native species. Instead of a monoculture of one plant species, there should develop a healthy community.

The area has also become much more attractive to native animal species. This colorful cranefly, which appears to be Epiphragma fasciapenne, is supposed to breed in areas like this. I doubt that the Multiflora Rose thicket provided the type of environment it required.

I also found one of my favorites, Silver-spotted Skippers, abundant here. I guess I like them so much because they are big, pretty and one of the easiest of the skippers to identify. I expect this area will attract a wide variety of insect species. It’s fun to walk through here and see all of the flora and fauna where once it looked like a rose desert. It’s also nice to walk by without getting tangled in rose canes.

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