JK Black Oak’s western meadow is one of the first sights visitors see when visiting the property. In the past few years, many trees and shrubs have sprouted up in this area. If left unchecked, the meadow would slowly turn into secondary forest. One of the management goals for JK Black Oak is to maintain and enhance diverse habitats, including meadows.
On September 4, 15 volunteers led by Gerco Hoogeweg waded out among the tall goldenrods that cover much of the meadow. Armed with hand saws, loppers, shovels and chain saws, we started to remove many saplings and a few larger trees from the western meadow. We also tried a few other methods of invasive species control including the use of Buckthorn Baggies. These plastic black bags are placed over small stumps and tied down. The idea is to kill the stump over time via solarization. One volunteer brought an uprooter. With this tool you can pull out small trees including the entire root system, thus preventing regrowth of the tree. It’ll be interesting to see how these different methods perform.
As the work progressed, we discovered just how many saplings, young shrubs and trees there were, and how much work was needed. Fortunately, the weather was pleasant and conducive to hard work. Three hours later, the meadow looked much more like a meadow. The transformation was stunning.