Truman High School

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It’s raining today and not the typical misting but actual rain drops are falling out of the sky since at least 9 this morning. Truman High, Kenny, and Jazz came to 14th and Holly today. Jazz, Kenny and Heidi focused on removing Herb Robert (Stinky Bob) along the trail from the entrance to 150′ North. Most of the purple-flowered invasive was along the West side of the trail. We have already removed tons of ivy and blackberry from this site and planted a few hundred plants and conifers, and have been routinely maintaining it since 2006. Stinky Bob does smell, but I don’t find it horribly offensive and I didn’t hear anyone else complaining. It is easy to identify from its purple flowers and carrot-like foliage that also looks very similar to the native Bleeding Heart. The flowers make it easy to identify from bleeding heart but mean the the plants are preparing to reproduce or have already produce seed. I think we beat it from seeding by removing it today. Even if it did set seed though, removing opened up growing space for the plants and trees we planted in spring 2007 and uncovered some other native plants that started volunteering themselves once the ivy and blackberry were removed. We have had a lot of luck along that trail with native plants filling in space formally occupied by invasives without having to purchase and plant them. After an initial invasive removal in 2006 and 3 or so maintenance sweeps in the time since, we have well established colonies of Salal, Indian Plum, Thimble Berry, Honeysuckle and native Blackberry.

We also did some maintenance digging in the shaded area further North on the trail on the East side. We did the initial Himalayan Blackberry and Evergreen Blackberry removal with Truman High just this past March and April. It wasn’t an impenetrable bramble because there is limited light from the Red Alder Canopy. The were patches of both undesirable species of blackberry and native blackberry on site when we did our first sweep. the grow-back was surprising for all of the species. We found it easy enough to distinguish the species even from the young sprouts. the native blackberry has a waxy coating on a round stem making it recognizable from the invasives. Truman High was here to plant the 1 gallon hemlocks we planted this spring in this location. They are heavy with bright green new growth! Some of them have mulch sprinkled around the base, but no cardboard and no compost. It will be interesting to see how all of the different combinations of micro-habitat and planting techniques will play out in the work we’ve done throughout the Sound Way property.

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