Reforesters Update 7/4/21

This morning my husband and I took a trip over to the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (PERT) to count our trees, do some upkeep, and maybe clear away some more invasives. I am a little behind on my report, since I haven’t been here since mid-June. Recovering from my shingles vaccine took a week and last week was either very hot or else thunderstorms, so I didn’t come over here.

Well, we are here now. It’s very green and lush these days here in the preserve.

We decided to count the trees first. I think this session we finally have found all our trees and cleared them. The count is 35 trees alive, 3 dead, and 2 vounteers we also are caring for.

We did some clearing. Those vines I mentioned in the last post, the ones with very weak stems and small heart-shaped leaves, are everywhere now. If they had any heft to them we’d be unable to fight our way into the plot. As it is, they have their own weapon – they are very sticky, meaning sticky like velcro, not sticky like popsicle juice, and if they touch your skin, it hurts to pull them away.

Ugh. Luckily, gloves and our usual array of cover-up clothes does the job. I pulled some vines away from this little tree. Ick, they arise in a mass and seem to stick to each other too, in order to get where they would like to go. I still don’t know their name – I need to look it up.

But today, I have a really exciting story to tell. Do you remember back at the end of May, I uncovered a dead tree still standing in its cage, buried under a huge mound of vines, weeds, and wild rosebushes? (Look here for that post if you don’t). I tagged it pink and left it. It then appears in several subsequent posts, a forlorn remnant, as I continued to clear brush.

Today I checked it, out of curiosity more than anything. I noticed some leaves that looked very much like oak leaves at the bottom of the cage.

Here it was this morning:

And those leaves…hmmm… I thought maybe a little volunteer oak was coming up, though I didn’t see any parent oakds nearby.

I found the former trunk of the tree and snapped the top off easily. Dead, yes. but I still wasn’t satisfied. I removed the whole cage and cleaned around the leaves. I found that they were growing out of the very bottom of the trunk. The tree was not dead!

Digging a little further, I found the nursery tag from the tree:

I was right, it is an oak tree. I carefully cleaned around it. I will be paying special attention to this little guy. It has survived years of living under a thicket. It’s strong. I will help it grow.

Well, that is it for today. Until next time.

About Claudia McGill

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

10 responses to “Reforesters Update 7/4/21

  1. Diane

    Hi Claudia, that vine looks like something that’s common name is mile a minute. The tell tail sign of a red oak are the little bristles at the tips. More on this later. Xo

  2. Just read this while all around me idiots are setting off explosions. Restorative – so thank you.

    • You’re welcome. I find doing this work is exactly that-restorative. The trees are always reaching for the sun and I feel good doing a little part to restore a tiny section of our world.

  3. So gratifying – the little oak. Humbling, the will to life.
    We have those vines here as well. I’ve had to take a knife to some thick parts to get it off a tree. I did this without protective clothing and on two occasions ended up with a serious rash, quite painful which needed antibiotics! I think it’s from the vine itself, but can’t be sure.

    • I wonder if you have poison ivy there? I guess probably not (you did not mention insane itching which accompanies the oozing rash that seems to stay forever. And did I mention the itch???) Anyway, I feel for you. I have not stepped into our plot without the full gear on with most of my body covered up after my painful experiences of the past. So far it has worked. Thank goodness.

  4. Plants have many weapons, and stickiness is definitely one of them.

    But that oak is so heartening. I love oak trees. (K)

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