Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fence Row Junk Removal

I’m pulling the trash out of the fence row in preparation for completing my invasive plant removal in that area.  This collection of junk was obviously brought from the farmstead years ago and deliberately deposited in the fence row.  I don’t know why it wasn’t placed in one of the already established dump sites.  An abandoned barrel is cause for concern because you don’t know what it might have contained when dumped.  In this case, both ends of the barrel had been removed prior to dumping, so the chance of toxic contamination is slight.

A roll of old woven wire fence indicates that someone had begun the process of removing the fence.  This is a roll of standard field fence; the type typically used for holding livestock.  Since this has been rolled, there is a stretch of fence row that does not contain the hazard of old wire on the ground.

The fence roll is held in place by several shrubs that have grown up through the wire.  It would be easy enough to cut the shrubs and remove the wire, but a couple of the shrubs are dogwoods that I would like to save.  I’ll have to come back later with a pair of wire cutters.

The dogwood trunk was resting against one of the fence wires.  The damage appeared to be minimal, but the bark coloration and growth pattern of the dogwood differed above the scar.  It almost appeared to be a graft scar, but that’s not something that would have happened out there in the fence row.  It’ll be an interesting tree to watch.

I never know what I’m going to find when I start pulling on a half buried piece of metal.  There were strands of fence wire running beneath the metal, so I was pretty sure I was seeing most of what was left here.

Looks like part of a sheet of roofing metal.  This could have come from a long way off and been dropped here by natural events.  I’ve seen wind storms rip pieces like this from barn roofs and carry it up and out of sight.  It could have been dropped directly into the fence row or left in the field and then carried to the fence row by a farmer who found the metal in the path of his farm equipment.

This is why I mowed a strip outside of the fence row.  The short grass gives me a place to stack trash and cut brush for later removal.  I could very easily lose stuff like this in the tall grass.

A thick piece of black plastic looks like it’s been here for a while.  This is another piece of junk that probably blew in with a storm.

Beneath the plastic is bare ground.  There were a few tunnels made by mice or voles and many insect sized chambers.  Looks like the plastic provided some good shelter.

A shallow pocket formed by the plastic accumulated a healthy mass of roots. 

I used the root mass to cover some of the bare spot.  I think most of the roots belonged to fescue and Japanese Honeysuckle, two invasive plants that I would like to eliminate.  I hesitated leaving the plants intact, but the surrounding area is full of both plants, so this little bit isn’t going to make any difference.

When I looked back at the plastic I had thrown into the grass, it had the appearance of a dessicated lizard head.  I may have inadvertently changed trash into art.  That takes care of all the junk except for the fence wire that’s strung along the ground.  The wire will take a little more time to gather up.


  1. Skip Hire Glasgow a fast and cheap skip hire offering a good quality of service in waste disposal.

  2. I usually delete advertisements when they show up in comments, but I found this one amusing. I was a great fan of the BBC Ground Force TV show. The first thing the Ground Force team would do at the start of a job was have a skip delivered in which to deposit all of the debris resulting from their garden renovation. Unless this company offers free delivery within 4,000 miles, I probably can’t afford their service.

  3. Steve, you've had Blue Jay Barrens now for, what, close to 27 years? You're just now getting to removing trash out of the fence row? This is not a criticism but an observation. I have to say I feel exhausted after reading all your posts about the amount of work you've done this winter. Did you recently retire? Or, is this year's unusual weather simply conducive to all your outdoor maintenance?

  4. Removing items dumped long before I purchased the property has never been a high priority. I’ve always concentrated on those activities that promised to have positive and long lasting impacts on the target ecosystem. The old junk has already done its damage and is now a rather benign part of the landscape. I’m only removing these items because they are interfering with my management of invasive species.

    The weather has always been the dominate factor affecting how much work I accomplish during the winter. This winter’s weather has limited my ability to accomplish what I had hoped. I can do very little when the ground is wet and muddy, a condition that has been common over the last few months. If things would dry up, I could really get some work done. February and March 2002 were almost drought like and I got twice as much done in those two months than I expect to accomplish this entire winter.