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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ivy Pull

I spent the morning with the Nisqually Land Trust pulling English Ivy on one of their properties.

This little property is right along side the freeway, just before it enters the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. February of last year we did some of the same type work on an adjacent property. I wrote about that day with the enchanting houses and the charming artistist who live on that property.

If you look back you will see that it was a glorious sunny day. Today was quite a different story. Rain, rain rain. I think this is storm five in the chain of ten storms slated to come our way over the next week. Thankfully the wind was not blowing, but there was no hope of keeping remotely clean or dry.

English Ivy invades and runs. Its biggest damage potential comes when it climbs trees. The strong thick runners form solid mats around the trunk and between the weight of the plant and the choking off of circulation these vines can bring down a tree.

Because the creek that passes through the property is a salmon stream, the trees are vital to protect and maintain the water temperatures. They also help filter the toxins in the environment.

We focused on clearing the ivy from around the trunks in a girdling like pattern. Leaving a gap of about 2 to three feet between the ivy high in the tree and the ground will result in death for the higher ivy. I focused on the newer growth with my hand clippers. Others used saws and pick-axes to pry vines as stout as my arm from the sides of the trunks. The ground around the trees could benefit from having the vines pulled up as well. It is a daunting task. Everything you see here that is clear, bare dirt was ivy when we started.

Unlike last year the woods are not quite up to speed. Indian Plum is blooming, but there is very little fresh new growth. The native snails are asleep. I did find some tiny, fresh turkey tail fungus.

This remarkably bright cup fungus earned a new home in a rotten tree trunk.

I didn't get an opportunity to take many pictures. My hands were muddy and my camera collected its own wet and grim even inside my pocket. My coat is not waterproof and why I am putting off actually getting suitable clothes for this task is beyond me.

I could not resist taking a picture of these lovely Violas. They are a garden species and not native. No one is particularly worried about their presence.

After visiting Washington Park last week , I revisited my blog entries from last year at this time. What a difference our somewhat normal weather this winter has made. Last year we had a mild, wet, non-winter with hardly any cold, freezing temperatures.

Last year at this time Washington Park was already in bloom with flowers everywhere. Last week I could not find a one, thought I found plenty of evidence that they will be here soon!


  1. We have had a strange winter here in the canyon. Little snow, tons of rains in December, and now cold and frosty nights with nice days, not really warm because of the winds, but sunny. We are at 4,141 ft., about 15 miles west of the Mojave Desert, where the desert is at about 3,000 ft. The canyon at this altitude has soft earth and sandstone and limestone, with juniper trees and,rabbit brush. Just so you know in case I need your help with the flora and fauna later this spring. Well, you now that's bound to happen. And thanks for all your past help.--Inger

  2. I guess that there has been strange weather all over the country. The East Coast suffered a horrendous Winter, with snow dumps practically every week and no place to put that snow.

    We were better off. We got no massive storms that we couldn't handle. But, we did get days and weeks where it snowed a shovelable amount every day. The snow accumulation is way above average for the year already, and we get snow in March and April.

    Nothing is greening up yet. There are no new plants showing growth. When I was back in the woods last week, I was specifically looking for skunk cabbage. I wanted to observe how the plant actually generates enough heat to melt the snow around it. But, there wasn't a cabbage in sight.

    I do hope that, with all of that strenuous work you did yesterday, you're not sore today.

  3. Nasty stuff that looks nice on old English estate houses, but is horribly invasive.