Thursday, February 15, 2007

15 February Grow zones

Grow Zone:

Stop mowing an area. See what happens.

What happens will be different for each area. When we stopped mowing our back forty, a hill before a flood plain, then a river, things grew there. I had hoped for Jewel weed, as that is what was growing there when we first bought the property, in 1986. I understand that Jewel Weed, while native, is invasive. There are areas that have tough specks and need a tough plant. My riparian strip floods, has extreme hydrology issues, as it is downstream from many impervious surfaces.

When we moved in, that summer we chopped down the Jewel weed and played in the flood plain. When we stopped mowing, we went down to one or two mowings a year. The self propelling mechanism went out on the mower. We liked to mow once in the fall so the kids could sled. In later they sledded on Toni's hill. Brambles, black and red raspberries started to grow on the hill. Dale cuts out the trees and unwanted branches at least once a summer. We get a lot of buchthorn and tree of heaven, these would take over the raspberries in a few years if we let them.

We declare this the year of the shrub. I am ordering native shrubs for the hill, hope to plant where the leaves have been laid down thickly. It will mean watering from time to time, especially on the higher bermed areas. I have put blueberries there and they have died. Last year I put a Redbud in. Redbuds don't need acid soil, but do need water the first year, when newly transplanted.

Old Man Willow, our ancient willow tree takes a lot of water from the area. I love that old Willow but think from time to time about saying goodbye to it. It is hard to think about cutting down a tree that is so large and has been alive for so long.


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