08-03-15 Field Note

Block title

08-03-15 Field Note

August 3, 2015

Jeff Clarke's field note shows the field crews efforts of collecting kanpweed root weevils, maintaining exclosures, and keeping mountain mahogany and winterfat alive.

PDF icon Download (2.55 MB)

Knapweed root weevils, exclosure maintenance, spruce bud worm

We collected and released (map) more than 9,000 (343 per person per hour) knapweed root weevils last week. We took them from areas with dense populations and released them in areas with few bio-controls. This year we will release the root weevils at highelevation sites where knapweed is encroaching on intact native plant communities.

We weed whacked the knapweed around Baldy summit (map) for the second year in a row. Knapweed seeds can remain viable in soil for about ten years. If we remove seed heads every year for a decade and continue to add bio-controls, the native plant community should have a fighting chance.

The feral horses wreak havoc on tree exclosures every day. If we don’t fix the leaning exclosures right away, they can damage the trees inside. To lessen exclosure maintenance, we will erect more buck and rail fences around these areas.

Several four and five year-old planted trees burst from their exclosures. We cut the plastic off to prevent girdled branches.

This week we removed houndstongue from areas that receive the most wildlife traffic - stock tanks!

traffic - stock tanks! Two months ago we planted small plugs of winterfat and mountain mahogany in the South Pivot drainage. Due to their small size, I thought many would perish. They received a lot of water and almost all the plants continue to grow!

Spruce bud worms defoliated the tips of many Douglas fir in the Bitterroot Valley. This is the fourth year in a row that we have seen damage caused by the moth larvae. Repeated damage can kill less hardy trees.

Grasshoppers defoliated some planted trees on the south end of the ranch. We expect the trees to rebound next year.

Larger bucks have started to show up on the buckeye cameras.