Spring Clean-Up

Spring is a special time in the Midwest where we shake off the weariness of winter and Mother Nature celebrates with a burst of color. Have you walked in the woods looking for spring wildflowers? Have you experienced the magic of Jack-in-the-Pulpit or carpets of Virginia Bluebells? Midwestern woodlands should be open so you can see through the trees. Birds forage from the tips of the branches to the ground layer covered with wildflowers and grasses.

Invasive plants are crowding out the native wildflowers that used to call our woodlands home. Their aggressive growth is smothering native plants and choking out the birds and animals that depend upon them. Some of the worst include:

 

Restoring a woodland starts with a restoration plan that evaluates the existing plant species and makes recommendations for removal or preservation. Next, an ecological contractor will map out the work and determine when restoration activities should take place to maximize their effectiveness. In winter and early spring, we cut brush and remove invasive trees. We spot-treat the cut ends to ensure these tough species won’t grow back. During the growing season, we selectively use herbicides on perennial weeds or hand pull them. In fall, we apply prescribed fire to knock back invasives and encourage native species.

By clearing a woods of invasive species, we allow life-giving light to reach the ground so native wildflowers and grasses can bounce back. We also add species back to create diversity to support wildlife. We seed with custom blends and plant plugs appropriate to the type of woods and its soils. Once a woodland has been restored to its natural beauty, maintaining it with regular stewardship is key to keeping it healthy.

Are you ready to fight the invasives and bring back the wildflowers? Contact us!