At an age of about 5 years they become large enough to begin producing a dead zone in the shade of their thick foliage. In order to avoid negative impacts, the cedars must be sought out and removed.
Cutting the cedar off at ground level is all it takes to be rid of the pest. As long as there are no green branches left on the stump, the cedar will not regrow.
In one area of the field I found about 30 plants that appeared to have had their bark removed by a hungry vole. I’m guessing that many of these debarked cedars would die. Maybe this vole will pass on its appetite for cedars to its offspring.
The bird’s intestinal juices weaken the seed coat and allow for easy germination. Birds that feed from the cedars and also spend time foraging in the open fields, such as Starlings and Robins, spread the seeds with their droppings.
Birds perch on the wires after feeding and drop an enormous load of seeds.
Working in areas like this can be awfully frustrating as you cut cedars one-by-one from a seemingly endless thicket of small shrubs.
This way I can work one block at a time and reduce the risk of missing a part of the field.
The line on the trailing edge is moved forward as I complete my search of each section. Width of my search corridor depends on the thickness of the vegetation and the difficulty in seeing the small cedars.
At other times I’ll remove them to one of the brush piles. The quantity of cedars looks much greater when it’s brought into the open and concentrated in one area.
Utilizing the grid pattern also gives a sense of accomplishment as each block is completed. During the winter of 2013 I spent just over 120 hours completing cedar maintenance on 19.3 acres. This sets my pace at a little more than 6 hours per acre.
Instead of cutting a grid pattern, I use stakes to create a base line. Rows of flags mark the boundaries between search corridors. Short grass makes the cedars more visible, so I’m typically cutting smaller plants.
Cut cedars are put into the blue tub. Filled tubs are placed on the white sheet. Four tubs fill the sheet which is gathered by the corners and slung Santa style over my shoulder for the trip to the brush pile.
I enjoy the work, but I’m glad it’s just a seasonal activity.