Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fence Row Work - The Other Side

For management purposes, I break a fence row into three parts.  There are two sides and then there’s the strip that contains the fence wire.  Land use history is rarely identical on both sides of the fence.  Past land use affects current conditions, so it’s possible to have wildly different management issues on one side of the fence versus the other.  Prior to my ownership, the field on this side of the fence was primarily used for annually cultivated crops.  The other side was used as hay and pasture.  My work experience on this side of the fence is generally more pleasant.  At least there are fewer thorny shrubs tearing at my skin.

Most of the Autumn Olive and Multiflora Roses have been eliminated on this side of the fence. My primary objective here is to trim things down so I can easily work in close to the fence wire.  Roses may be absent, but Blackberry canes can cause just as many wounds. 

Now I can get in close to the wire and remove the few invasives that have managed to survive there.  The Blackberry canes will quickly grow back this summer.  I like to cut the Blackberries every few years to keep them from developing a tangled thicket.

The corner at the back end of the field has developed a nice collection of Flowering Dogwoods. 

Flowering Dogwoods also grow thickly along the edge of the field.  This dogwood collection produces the most attractive blooming display on the property.  These are all relatively young specimens.  The large dogwoods that used to grow at Blue Jay Barrens all died out around 20 years ago when the anthracnose infection spread through the population.  Dogwoods are still absent from the woodland understory, but individuals in the protected fields and field edges are thriving.

Encroachment of trees into the field was kept to a minimum because of farming activities.  It’s much easier on this side to clear right up to the fence wire.

I used the field trail as my other mowing boundary.  The trail stays fairly close to the field edge except where it bows out around a large patch of Goldenrod.  The Goldenrod shares its space with Blackberries, so I mowed the whole area to keep the Blackberries from taking over.

I usually find a few Chinese Mantis egg cases in the Goldenrod areas.  I would love to eradicate this predatory alien species from Blue Jay Barrens.  I destroy the egg cases by using my hand pruners to snip through the egg mass.  I manage for native species and consider it unacceptable for any native species, rare or otherwise, to be destroyed by an alien.

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