Ivy Removal

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Today we were visited by a home school group that has developed into a monthly volunteer team. The ages usually range from 6-13. Six kids and 4 adults joined Tom and I today. Tom focused on maintenance weeding of Blackberry from the west side of the trail at 14th and Holly between the Honey Bucket and the small seasonal wetland. The home schoolers focused on pulling up English Ivy from the Sound Way Property. We cleared around 750 square feet and piled up around 5 cubic yards of vines. Everyone was pretty excited once they started ripping the vines out. It is quite satisfying. This group is a lot of fun and we are making plans to continue our monthly work parties through the summer and into next year.

Alyssa and Josh came from 3-5 and joined Tom and I in clearing another 750 square feet and 5 cubic yards of vines. All in all, it was a really productive day for two small groups. The area looks great. There are lots of Thimble Berry and Salal growing the shade provided by Madrona and Hazelnut and will spread on their own once the ground Ivy is removed. The Ivy was previously cut from the tree trunks and the vines in the trees are dead. We will come back and plant conifers in the fall. There is no need to mulch in here, but we’ll monitor and maintain this site regularly for at least a few years.

Yesterday it rained and we decided to focus on cutting invasive English Ivy away from the trunks of trees. The Truman High group and 2 students from Nathan Hale cut 17 life-saving rings around some pretty large trees. We used pruners, loppers, and a handsaw to cut the Ivy at shoulder height and then pulled it off the lower trunk and from the ground immediately surrounding the trees. By doing so, the students cut off the supply of water and nutrients to the rest of the Ivy remaining in the trees. The vines will eventually wither and die. Alyssa, Josh, Mila and Mimi joined me from 4-6 to do some maintenance weeding of Blackberry from the sheet mulched area of the Sound Way Property on the east side of the trail north of the small seasonal wetland. We are experimenting with just pulling the grow-back out instead of digging it. It will probably require at least a few applications, but it doesn’t disrupt the soil and the cardboard as much as digging, which could lead to further invasion of undesirable species. Digging was necessary in a few areas where grow-back was significant. It only took the 4 of us two hours to weed 25,000 square feet! This technique may be appropriate and work in this situation where grow-back is weak and sparse after the side was dug of root-ball 2-3 times, sheet-mulched, and then planted. Once we finished the mulched area, we moved into the adjacent area without sheet-mulch and dug whatever grow-back we encountered. Digging is usually the preferred method, but the decision was made to leave the sheet-mulch intact to avoid exacerbating the invasion by compromising this protective layer. Fortunately we have work parties scheduled for adjacent sites with monitoring and maintenance of previous work sites an identified priority.

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