Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October fields

The above is a picture of the Square taken in mid October. It is amazing to me how low the grass looks. It looks almost like the grass was last cut three weeks ago not 3 years ago. Grass seems to have a renewed growth period in the fall after the summer plants have died back. This area in the middle of summer was covered in purple vetch and other climbing plants now those have all died back dragging the tall dead summer growth down with them.

The small spruce seedling that can be seen in the middle distance is three years old. It is one of the lucky ones that I have been able to save from being over grown by the grass. Others that got lost over the summers would not get enough sunlight to grow vigorously. I think this seedling is now out of danger of being overgrown by the grass. The vetch can still be a problem though even for larger spruce trees.

It is interesting to compare the above 3 year old field to the picture below of the 1 year old Newhaven Extension planting area. There you can see there is a lot of dead standing grass. My general observation is that the first year after planting an area that has been frequently cut the plant communities that dominate are grasses and trefoil, stichwort, yarrow and clover that either can withstand frequent cutting or does well growing close to the ground but also can climb when the grass grows taller. In the second year the grasses do less well and the climbing plants including purple vetch become more prominent. On the third year the climbers continue to do well but there is an increasing diversity with tall plants such as Goldenrod, Bull Thistle, Queen Anne's Lace, St. John's Wort, Milkweed and Aster gaining footholds.

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