COVID Spring

The second season for the greenspace renovation project was marked by the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic and related economic shutdown. The project provided a nice excuse to get outside to exercise and socially distance with neighbors. Seedlings had been preordered in the fall to come in weekly batches of about 50 plants throughout the month of March. March proved to be an excellent month for planting - offering cool temperatures and high moisture for seedling establishment prior to the dry summer months. The selection of seedlings were intended to mimic riparian oak/hickory forests of north eastern Kansas/north western Missouri blended with some shade tolerant prairie plants. A good number of seeds were also distributed to be described at a later date.

Spring 2020 seedling plantings

Batch 1
Prunus Americana (American Wild Plum) seedling (25), 3/13/2020, Mo Dept of Conservation
Black Cherry (10), 3/13/2020, Mo Dept of Conservation
Cottonwood cuttings (10), 3/13/2020, Mo Dept of Conservation
Batch 2
Chokecherry seedling (5), 3/18/2020, KS Forestry Service
American Elderberry seedling (5), 3/18/2020, KS Forestry Service
Redbud tree seedling (4), 3/18/2020, KS Forestry Service
Golden Current seedling (5), 3/18/2020, KS Forestry Service
American Wild Plum seedlings (4), 3/18/2020, KS Forestry Service
Flase Indigo seedlings (2), 3/18/2020, S Forestry Service
Button Bush seedlings (3), 3/18/2020, KS Forestry Service
Batch 3
Black gum seedlings (25), 3/19/2020, Mo Dept of Conservation
White oak seedlings (10), 3/19/2020, Mo Dept of Conservation
Bald cypress seedlings (10), 3/19/2020, Mo Dept of Conservation
Red oak (Texana) seedlings (10), 3/19/2020, Mo Dept of Conservation
Batch 4
Northern red oak seedlings (25), 3/26/2020, Mo Dept of Conservation
Redbud tree seedlings (24), 3/26/2020, Mo Dept of Conservation

These seedlings were grouped together in areas with appropriate sun exposure and soil moisture content for the species. The central area of the greenspace -towards the west end is particularly wet during the spring months with a fair amount of sun exposure, impacting selection of plants. This area was intensively planted with black gum, bald cypress, texana red oak, swamp white oak and black cherry. The northern red oak, redbud and american plum were planted in the perimeter along the walking path where the conditions are dry with more sun exposure. The chokecherry and elderberry were planted on the west end in the stream. The cottowood cuttings were also placed in the stream in a more central location near an established cottonwood tree.

The majority of seedlings responded well surviving the initial planting and summer with the exception of the black gum. None of the black gum survived the initial planting, and at long last, I concluded that the conditions of the area do not support them. The bald cypress did extremely well in the climate but were rapidly decimated by grazing deer. I decided that future seedling tree plantings will focus on Kansas natives such as Burr, White and Red oaks, and prunus species. It also became clear that oak species need protections to survive winter grazing. The shrub and small tree species on the other hand were not extensively grazed.

The fall of 2020 included a serious honeysuckle eradication effort which had a major impact on the space and opened up light to much of the area. This should provide more suitable climate for the next round of plantings set to begin March 8.

The spring of 2021 will begin with an inventory of the surviving plants and an assessment of the impact of grazing on the surviving oaks. Are they dead or not? We shall see!

Posted by ann223 ann223, February 26, 2021 20:22

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