Thursday, February 23, 2017

How To Destroy A Tree Planting Project

I had a call from a landowner who wanted me to get trees for him.  He said that oak galls were wiping out his trees, which were planted a little more than ten years ago.  While I was digging out his file he told me that he had been keeping his project mowed every year. The upper picture is the project.  That is what happens when you mow a tree planting project.  Most of the damage occurs while the trees are just seedlings, because the person mowing  can't see the trees, and they mow everything but the few trees they can see.  Often, the trees survive and will grow from the root if you will just stop mowing.  That's what I told him to do.  He has even been mowing across rows, and you can see that if you click the pic to enlarge.  Sheesh.

This is how a project should appear.  The owner had a contractor plant it, and then it was left alone.  There are a few thin spots, but other wise it is fully stocked.  You hear people complain about the clayey soils in Southern Illinois, but these soils are great for trees.  Prairie grasses can out-compete new trees on deep prairie soils, but trees can beat many of the grasses on a clay site. You can plant trees on crop stubble, walk away and let the weeds grow, and in five years the trees pop up above the weeds.  Easy-Peasy!  Unless there is fescue.  Kill the fescue first if it is growing where you want to plant trees.

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