Thursday, October 12, 2006

Give Me Shelter

The ice cold north wind blew and blew, and blew some more today, so if I wanted to work outside, I needed shelter. Therefore, I loaded up my old truck and headed over to the forty acre woodland preserve that I am volunteer managing. The woods is cut by deep ravines, so I hiked back into a south facing ravine, where the sun was shining, and the wind was blocked off. I'm currently working my way through the woods cleaning out untold thousands of multiflora roses; this particular ravine is just about solid multiflora, in great tangles up to ten feet tall. I soon shed my jacket as I worked my way along the steep slope, cutting off the roses at the base with large, anvil loppers, then treating the stems with Roundup. By three o'clock, the clouds came in low to the ground, with sleet and gusty wind, and my tired arms could hardly lift the loppers anymore, so I walked the mile back to my truck, and came home. A piece of leftover pizza revived me, and it was out to the garden... things were pretty frazzled from our freeze last night, but perhaps not as bad as one would think (with a fifty degree drop in temperature in 24 hours), as the wind kept the temperatures in our little valley a bit higher than they might have been if the night was calm and clear... still, it dropped to 28 above last night. I needed to dig up a couple of native ladyslipper orchids (Cypripedium parviflora; the yellow ladyslipper), as they were being crowded out by a rhododendron, which looked cute in its little pot when I bought it, but which seems destined to be as large as a garage. The picture above shows one of the cyps, out of the ground... this is by no means a large plant (it will have three stems next year), but you can see how extensive the roots are, to support the orchid... if any of these roots, which are very brittle, are broken, the whole orchid may succumb. If you've ever bought a native ladyslipper through the mail, this shows why your orchid probably died on you. Most of them are dug up out of the woods (usually from public lands), and cut into single bud pieces, with just a few scraggly roots. "Nursery grown" usually means the plant was dug in the wild, put in a pot for a short time, then sold before it dies (as opposed to nursery propagated). If you do try to grow one (and relative to other native orchids, the yellow ladyslipper is easy), the main thing to remember is that the roots must be splayed out flat, just under the surface, in very loose, duffy soil, with excellent drainage. Posted by Picasa

It got down to 25F here last night, but ours was a clear, cold night.
Oh, yeah, I meant to ask you about the multiflora eradication. I need to do this on my acreage, but it sure does sound like backbreaking work. Do you cut the canes off near the ground, or waist-height? Do you brush or spray on the Roundup, and what concentration of solution is it? And do you have some way of carrying the loppers and the Roundup, besides in your hands? All I can imagine you doing is walking to the first shrub, put the Roundup down, lop off the branches. Put the loppers down, pick up and apply the Roundup. Pick up loppers and move to the next shrub. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Aaaaaugh! Surely there is a more efficient way? Don't they have hipflasks for Roundup?
Kathy... I cut them off right above the ground (just high enough so I can see the stems in the leaf litter). I use 5% Roundup, and sometimes I paint it on; I use one of those small disposable sponge paint brushes, which sits in a deep plastic tube with the Roundup in the bottom, and is strapped to my belt. However, I do sometimes use a spray bottle, which on smaller bushes I can hold at the same time I'm lopping (I have bigger hands than you). For big bushes I do have to set it down, but oftentimes those kind of thickets take a while to lop off anyway. I've thought about getting a very small backpack sprayer, with a "holster" for the nozzle. Best of all would be to have two people doing the job, but that's a luxury.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?