What’s Going On At Wagner Woods?

Wagner Woods trails are popular with both walkers and dog walkers. Not too long, not too steep and a combination of woods and meadow paths. But this spring part of the landscape looked pretty chewed up. What did we do and why?

After last year’s spraying of Japanese barberry and other invasive plants, we were left with a lot of plant “skeletons” that were ugly and blocked access to any regrowth of the barberry and to other stands of invasive plants that we hope to be able to treat next year. Next year’s spraying would be “spot spraying” rather than the extensive work done last fall. (You may remember that Japanese barberry is very likely to harbor the ticks that carry Lyme disease and that is part of why it is a particular target for control.)

Because we are hoping the budget permits us to continue to manage the invasive plants at Wagner Woods, we decided to do the “forest mowing” recommended by the forester who has worked for us there. A forest mower cuts and chips up woody brush. Now that the “skeletons” are gone, someone can walk through the treated areas to spot spray any regrowth, working around native plants that have come in. This will be more effective and less expensive than the original spraying job.

We were sorry in this process to lose the lilacs, quince and forsythia that were growing around the old farmhouse site. They looked very pretty in the spring. Unfortunately the bushes were mixed in with poison ivy vines and bittersweet vines so it wasn’t a situation anybody wanted to tackle by hand.

We had been hoping that the shrubs would regrow from their roots. We’re happy to say that in spite of the very dry summer, the forsythia and the quince have already put up new shoots. We’ll have to see if we can manage the weeds before things get out of control again.