As fall rolls into winter, many of us crave a long winter vacation. But there’s other fish to fry, too, as our holiday plans unfold. Late fall and early winter are great times to perform restoration work in natural areas. Various restoration services can be performed during the dormant season.
Fall is the best time of year to plant woody plants. In fact, successful planting can occur up until the ground is frozen. Compared to spring planting, fall planting is generally more ideal because the ground tends to be drier in the fall and natural area work sites do not become muddy as work progresses. Spring work sites are often very wet and soft as the snow melts and frost emerges from the ground. Warm soil temperatures, coupled with cool air temperatures in the fall, help promote root growth. As the plant goes into dormancy and sheds its leaves, there is less chance for dry winds to evaporate moisture from the plant. Late fall and early winter planting are strongly encouraged.
Invasive Vegetation Control Treatments
Woody invasive plants growing in our natural areas are best controlled during the fall and winter months. Invasive species such as Lonicera maacki, L. morrowii, and L. tatarica are three plants known collectively as the bush honeysuckles. The honeysuckle plants retain their foliage longer into the fall than many other native plants. This is one of the competitive advantages of the plant. Longer retention of foliage means more opportunity to control the honeysuckles. By this time of year, most native plants in forested areas have completed their life cycles and are dormant. It is a great time of year to foliar treat these plants.
Consider controlling woody invasive plants in non-forested meadows during this time as well. Stump cut and basal bark herbicide treatments are the best treatment methods to use in these sites. Some herbaceous plants are still actively growing in late fall, even after a mild frost. Cut stump and basal bark treatments reduce the chance of off-target herbicide application to desirable plants.
Prescribed burning of the biomass in natural prairie areas helps eliminate woody species in prairie meadows. It also promotes quick germination of native annuals by allowing the ground to warm up quicker in the spring. Prescribed burning actually revitalizes native plant communities. While prescribed burning is viable anytime of the year, the best time to burn is late winter when the biomass is dry and the ground is wet.
Do you have a management plan for the land you are managing? Late fall and winter are excellent times to develop one. If you already have a management plan, take the time in winter to review and update your progress towards achieving the goals established in the plan. One of the biggest myths of the natural world is that ecosystems are solely self-sustaining.
Call Dave Goerig today 330.673.5685 ext. 8036, and let us help you with your land management challenges.