Spring Forest Visit

It was a little early to go down to the farms. The trees haven’t quite started to grow yet and the clover is still small and not flowering. I will be back in a few weeks. But I wanted to check on flood damage now. Above are the trees near the clover field at the top of the hill. The truck gives perspective. The land was clear cut in 2003, so you can see how much the trees have grown since then. The biosolids helped them grow faster last year. Below is another truck comparison. There is an interesting detail. Look at the two trees behind the truck. The round top one is a “volunteer” i.e. natural regeneration. It was probably a little tree when the place was cut. The one next to it is a planted genetically “super tree.” Because of their location at the crossroad, I have been paying attention to this place. The round top tree was twice as big as the ones around it when I first noticed. Today, you can see that the one next to it is a little bigger and I expect that after this growing season it will be significantly bigger. I will take another picture.

I saw clear evidence of heavy rain and lots of runoff, but no real damage. The places near the streams overflowed, but that doesn’t hurt the trees. The water is running UNDER one of the water pipes. I figure it will undercut the road, but I don’t think there is much to do about it. I will put in a load of rocks and turn it into a ford when/if it collapses. I think it will be better for the water to run over instead of under. 

One of the little streams changed course last year. It went back to its older course. When I dig down, I find sand and gravel all over, indicating that the stream has changed course a lot. It creates wetlands until the mud piles up into natural levies, and then it moves again. You can see from the picture above that there have been times when the ground was dry for a long time.  The dead trees were alive when I got the place in 2005, when the stream shifted and evidently drown the roots in wetland. I suppose that now the stream has shifted again, it will be dryer, although the whole place is spongy.

I also think that runoff will decrease over time as the trees on the slopes get bigger and their roots absorb more of the water before it hits the streams. 

I want to get the trees on the Freeman tract thinned this year or next, before I get to Brazil.   Above you can see from the comparison with the truck that the trees are big enough and thick enough. They will be fourteen years old this year, which is a little early for thinning but within the range.  Below is the power line right-of-way. They replaced the wooden pylons with steel and kind of tore up the grass. I have eight acres under those things. I am looking into establishing quail habitat, since I cannot plant trees (or allow them to grow) that would interfere with the wires.  On the plus side, it provides a long area of forest edge and wildlife plot and the utility company maintains the road.