05-31-13 Field Note

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05-31-13 Field Note

June 3, 2013

Jeff Clarke's Field Note documents the start of a native/invasive plant relationship study, the removal of buck and rail fences, and the construction of exclosures to keep beavers from vunerable trees.

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05-30-13 Field Note by Jeff Clarke

This week the crew set up seedling germination plots in an attempt to learn the best way to encourage native seedling germination and growth. We started by spreading a native mix across the whole area and then we raked in the seeds. Next, we covered plots with jute (fabric made from palm fiber and wood shavings), wood chips, or left the ground bare. We will keep the plots watered and see what treatment has the greatest success in growing natives. BROWN- jute GREEN- wood chips GREY- bare BLUE- untreated exclosures RED- tree island

Seedling Germination Project

Last week the crew helped Ylva, Alexi, and John Maron plant 16,000 forbs for a native/invasive relationship study. It was a true bonding experience.

Wind consumed the entrance buck and rail fence (for the second time this spring) and toppled it onto the road. We decided to remove the fence. We will reuse its materials to protect suckering aspen groves.

This buck and rail exclosure built in 2011 demonstrates an aspen grove’s potential growth when protected. Ungulates in Tongue creek have ravaged suckers outside the exclosures.

The north center pivot continues to receive heavy grazing pressure from elk that loaf in the river-bottom by day. The deer and elk have left the sainfoin near the orchard house. These plants grow taller and will soon flower.

Erosion bars, placed in Tongue Creek earlier this spring, hold moisture and create a nice micro climate for planted wheat seeds to germinate and flourish. The added roots and bio mass will help prevent further erosion. We will experiment with adding more seeds to these slopes in the fall.

Chokecherry trees that burned last spring sent up a bunch of new shoots this spring. They grow with vigor on the unstable south facing slopes.

Water cress blooms upon wet, mucky, soil.

Beavers continue to wreak havoc on the aspen stand adjacent (east) to the clubhouse floodplain pond. To deter their wandering ways, the field crew erected a 2.5 foot tall fence around the perimeter of the vulnerable stand. We hope this will prevent more trees from falling.

I try to eradicate invasive pike several times a week. Within the last month, I’ve not seen a single one; I have come across a few pike heads laying in the middle of the floodplain. I assume that the osprey are also assisting us with pike eradication.

That pesky spurge is back again! Several populations took a hard hit by the field crew’s backpack sprayers last year. This year we will clean up the depleted infestations and and wage war on new patches.

Several of the two-year-old planted trees have outgrown their plastic protectors. This week the crew placed larger metal exclosures, or double-sized plastic exclosures, around the trees. This will give them more room to grow. We had found a few deciduous trees that were relying on protectors to help them stand. Their vigorous growth upward may have taken away from their branch strength.

Several planted native grasses and forbs grow amongst the planted trees in the hedge row near the Lower Woodchuck; unfortunately, weeds grow there too. This week the crew weed whacked the weeds to prevent further seed dispersal. We have found this method is a less invasive way to suppress the weeds when a diverse native community is present.

Recent Field Work • MPGN clean up • Plant 16,000 forb study • Weed whack invasives • Protect trees • Fix metal exclosures • Spread and rake seed • Lay out seed germination study • Photo document bitterbrush study • Spray leafy spurge • Erect beaver exclosure • Vehicle Maintenance • Kill hounds tongue and mullein • Transplant sage and native grasses

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