Reforesters Update 6/5/21

Well, the rain falls and the sun shines, and the green plants grow. Of all kinds. This morning, about 7 AM, my husband and I arrived at the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (PERT) for another session of tree care.

We’ve had torrential rains three of the last four days, I guess, and that and other things have kept me from visiting in the last week. But with sunny skies and a very warm day promised, it seemed like a good time to do some work here.

We arrived early, as I said, in order to beat the heat. I was suited up in my usual attire:

By the time we’re finished these clothes will be filthy and wet from the residual dampness from all the rain. But they do the job. Here’s what I have on:

  • shorts and tank top under a long-sleeved T shirt and scrub pants (I particularly love the pants. They are lightweight and have a number of useful pockets). I dress in these layers so that before I go home I can take off the top layers and do a quick cleanup in the bathroom.
  • white socks (supposedly they will help me see if any ticks are starting their journey up my body) tucked over my pant legs, and my heavy work boots.
  • a head covering (a gaiter, really) over my hair and my hat
  • goggles over my glasses. I have learned from experience that in these surroundings you must protect your eyes.
  • belt pack – the phone is securely zipped inside in and the ringer turned on in case I lose it. I carry it because we sometimes need to consult the PERT app’s GPS to make sure we are within our plot boundaries. I think we can also mark trees via GPS but I haven’t caught on to that yet – soon!

OK! Let’s go!

Here is a view down the hill. You can orient yourself by understanding that the trail is on the right of the electric pole. I am standing inside our plot looking straight down the hill.

We walked down to the other end, at the bottom of the hill. Here is a view uphill – the trail is now on the left. You see our blue tool bag – it’s located about the middle; and that is my husband heading into the undergrowth.

Today we decided to get right to work on clearing invasisves. The trees were in good shape a week ago and don’t need attention right now. We have made good progress through our own efforts and with the help of the PERT’s mechanical clearing some weeks back. This view shows how far back these efforts have pushed the undergrowth – when we started, it was within 10 feet or so of the trail.

Here is the area where I worked last week. The debris is dying/dead and turning brown. I spent a little time stomping around on it to settle thing for easier walking. You may notice that there is a tree trunk on the ground there. Last week, it was hidden under the growth.

This photo shows last week’s work to the right and to the left, a portion of what I want to work on this week. See that little pink tag to the right? It marks the dead tree we uncovered at the end of last week’s session.

You know, when you go into a big green mound like this, you have no idea what you might find. I used my technique of clipping stems and vines that were on the outside of the mound, taking a little at a time. Eventually this process leads to being able to get inside the growth and start taking out things from the ground level…but first you have to get there.

I found that this clump was full of wild roses, some wineberries, and a lot of honeysuckle and porcelain berry vines. I found honeysuckle vines as big around as two-three fingers. That means they have been in place a very long time.

Well, after a while, the answer as to what was inside this mess emerged. See those bare branches? That is a dead spicebush. It had served as a support for all the other plants.

Here is the same picture but closer. Note the pink-tagged dead tree to the right. Yes, it is the same one I mentioned earlier. I did a lot of clearing today all right.

The spicebush, it should be cut down, it’s dead. I will mention this to Maria Paula at PERT one day. I did find that there is another spicebush right behind it, but alive. Next week I will work to free it as I clear more in this area.

My husband worked a section to the left of mine. Here is his work.

I later cleared that small bushy area to the right while he was re-staking a tree. Just a couple of skinny rose canes and some honeysuckle.

Now we’ve got a nice big swath cleared. We will continue to work in this area, heading to the back of our plot. I think things will get easier there because there is more shade and not as much invasive growth.

Well, that is is for today. Thanks for coming along.

About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

3 responses to “Reforesters Update 6/5/21

  1. Plants do fill up whatever space they find. (K)

    • That is the truest thing ever said. And overall it is a good thing. The Reforesters initiative is necessary because the entire preserve was farmland pretty much, not that long ago, and left to itself it has reforested in some areas, and in others turned into areas full of plants that don’t help wildlife or birds and hurt those that do. I hope to see more trees, and all the good things that they bring along, in some small way here.

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