It was a great day out in the JKW fields. The students worked really hard for about 3 hours, but I am afraid we did not get the whole plot finished. The covered plots were looking pretty good, but we still dug up more rhizomes.
We uncovered, cleared, and recovered 4 sheets worth which was more than half, maybe almost 2/3’ s of the area. We started on the 5th section, but didn’t have time to complete it and it was the worst as far as having rhizomes, so we covered it up with an old sheet again and that is where we need to resume work. We added our newly dug rhizomes to the pile under the tarp. The girls were worn out after a while working on the JKW, so they actually were happy to sit and pull up the garlic mustard in the cut, cut, cut plot and at the top of the covered area near the fence. They gathered 3 bags full. Several people stopped to thank us over the course of the morning. – SR
The JKW plot is getting out of control. The last time I was there was Wednesday, June 21. If no more work has been done since then, here is the current status of the three sub-plots:
1. East of the black plastic (managed by John): This is probably the most in control of the three, but the JKW was up about three or four feet on 6-21.
2. The black plastic area: JKW has grown tall in the gaps between the sheets of plastic and from under the plastic on the west side (maybe the east, too, I’m not sure). A lot of pulling or cutting is needed, and the plastic needs to be adjusted. Since it is growing all along the wetland side of the plastic, it seems we need another sheet or sheets there after the thick JKW is removed. From all the JKW growing up in the gaps between the sheets of plastic, it seems we need much more overlap between sheets.
3. The west end of the plot (managed by me): Since my last report to you, I’ve worked an additional four times, a little over an hour each time. I’ve accomplished a lot, but with rainy days and some too-hot-to-work days, it got a bit away from me. This past Wednesday I took down nearly all the very tall JKW down low on the slope, and I worked on a lot of the shorter plants. But (guess what?) it keeps growing fast. Now there is still quite a bit at the 3 to 4 foot height which I haven’t taken care of yet, and probably some taller than that. Unfortunately, my wrist and elbow are giving me sharp reminders to take it easy, so I’m going to have to use less “enthusiastic” techniques in the coming weeks. Also, I will be out-of-town from Thursday, June 29 until late on Wednesday, July 5. I am hoping someone else can also help with this. A lot can be accomplished in a single hour. – DM
Here is a very brief JKW update.
On Sunday afternoon, I was finally able to get the time to visit the JKW site with Mike’s gas-powered weed whacker. Luckily, Don happened to be there as well. (It was good to know that someone would be able to call for help if I severed a finger or toe.) After some Keystone Cops efforts to get the thing started, I finally discovered the hidden on-off switch located on the handle and had no trouble after that.
In less than half an hour, I was able to cut down the entire stand of JKW, by then about 3-6 feet high depending on the location, to the east of the covered area. The results were a bit rough, but it was much faster than doing it by hand.
Don and his crew had taken care of the JKW on the west side of the plastic a week or two earlier. They had also pulled up JKW growing between the cracks of the plastic and about half of that growing along the bottom of the bank between the plastic and the marsh. There was still a pretty healthy stand of JKW growing at the bottom of the bank, and I was able to dig this out by the roots pretty quickly with the mattock.
So I think we have the area pretty much in control at this point, and it should be good for another few weeks at least. At some point I still want to remove the plastic, dig out remaining rhizomes and recover thoroughly. I’m not sure when I’ll get to that. – JB
Mike Tabaczynski and I got a healthy start yesterday afternoon on the JKW reseeding project, but we did not finish.
Mike weed-whacked most of the area (but not quite all), and we pulled by hand all the new JKW growing on the bottom of the bank, below the black plastic area, at the border of the marsh. We then removed the plastic cover on the eastern side, dug out all the pale JKW shoots and whatever evidence of remaining root masses we could find, and raked and tilled the soil to prepare it for seeding. We did not apply any fertilizer, seed or hay cover, figuring it was best to do this all at one time.
What remains to be done? When I left at the end of the day, I realized that we did not quite uncover the complete eastern half, so I would like to peel back one more strip of plastic and prepare that area. Then we need to apply the fertilizer and rake it in, apply the seed and rake it in, and cover with the hay. Finally, we need to clean up and recover the western portion of the site and, if there is time, complete the weed-whacking. All of this would probably take one person two to three hours, two people somewhat less.
I am planning to go back out again this afternoon at 3:00. The sun is a little less burning at that hour, and the meadow really is quite beautiful as the sun westers late in the afternoon. – JB
Don Miller and I spent about three hours at the JKW site this afternoon. Here is a brief recap of what we accomplished (and some other information of interest).
We picked up where Mike and I left off yesterday and expanded the area to be seeded a bit more so that it now represents as close as I could come to half of the area that was originally dug up and covered. The preparation effort was significantly delayed by our efforts to remove a very long steel rod that was embedded in the bank and stubbornly refused our efforts to extract it until we had done a major excavation project. We were further distracted by a number of passers-by who stopped to question us about, and in many cases to compliment us for, the work being done.
We raked and tilled the complete expanded area and, again, removed as much of the remaining JKW rhizomes as we practically could. We moved a large pile of JKW that Mike and I had unrooted on Saturday up to the top of the bank (but did not have time to move it into the large root pile under the tarp). After neatening the area up as much as we could, we applied two roughly 1 pound bags of 10-10-10 fertilizer (as directed by the New England Wetland Plants, Inc. web site) and raked it in. We then spread both bags of the New England Erosion Control/Restoration Mix for Dry Sites that David had purchased and raked that in as well. Finally, we applied a layer of saltmarsh hay that Don had purchased from Wilson’s.
So the core project of uncovering half the area, cultivating it and seeding it has now been done. By the time we finished, however, it was starting to get dark so we called it a day.
Tasks that are less time-critical but still remain to be done are: Re-covering the western portion of the covered area to secure it for the winter and eliminate holes or gaps Weed-whacking the remaining JKW in the area to complete the fall clean-up Cleaning up and removing a fair amount of trash, including the large steel rod that we excavated today, another large steel bar that I excavated on Saturday, and other odd bits and pieces of rusted metal, broken bottles, tin cans, etc. Moving the new JKW root pile under the tarp, and Cleaning up and bringing inside for winter storage the tools we have been keeping under the tarp, including a pick mattock and two weed cutters – JB
On Monday afternoon, I went back to the JKW site for several hours with the weed whacker provided by Mike and did a very thorough cleanup of essentially all of the knotweed in the area. This should complete the JKW clearing work for the season. I also cleaned up and removed all the trash we had gathered during our recent work with the exception of the large steel rod and large steel bar, which I was afraid our Lexington trash collectors might not take. Before I did the clearing work, I took some photographs which I will pass on to David after they are developed, but it was late enough in the day that the lighting on the bank was not terrific, so they may not come out too well.
- This means that the only tasks left to be done to prepare this site for the winter are:
- Cleaning up and re-covering the western half of the dig-and-cut area
- Removing the steel scraps
- Moving the new JKW root pile under the tarp, and
- Cleaning up and bringing inside for winter storage the tools we have been keeping under the tarp, including a pick mattock and two weed cutters
After looking more closely at the western portion of the site yesterday afternoon, I now think this will be a bigger project than I had anticipated. There are a lot of holes and gaps in the sheeting on that side, and I don’t think the JKW rhizomes were cleared out as thoroughly when the work was originally done so there is quite a bit of new growth. To do this right, we really should pull up all of the existing plastic, dig out shoots and root systems wherever we can find them, and then re-cover thoroughly, using new plastic sheeting where the old sheeting has been torn or ripped. This will probably be a two or three hour project. I have no immediate plans to do this work, but it probably should be done before it gets cold and the ground freezes, i.e., before mid-November. – JB
I do want to extend special thanks to Mike and David for their hard work this past Saturday helping to clear and re-cover “Area B” of the JKW site. This project proved to be a lot more difficult and time-consuming than I ever would have expected, but I think we did a satisfactory job. The left side had not been dug out as thoroughly as the right, and we found a number of sizeable rhizomes that had to be removed. There also were a lot of JKW roots and plants that had been tossed on top of the plastic during previous removal sessions and it took a considerable effort to clean this material up and cart it over to the refuse pile.
We used all of the remaining rolls of plastic sheeting that Sandra and I purchased last summer (five in all) to re-cover Area B — four vertically and one horizontally at the top of the bank by the fence. It might be noted for the record that we ended up discarding most of the old sheets, as they were hole-ridden and the plastic had become brittle. We did reuse one for additional cover on the refuse pile (which has now become much larger), and another to fill a gap at the top left of Area B.
The part that we planted a month or so ago (I will call it “Area A”) is growing in nicely and should be in good shape for the winter. Mike, David and I had some discussion about seeding Area B in the spring; but on further reflection, now that we have done all this work, I firmly believe we should leave that area covered through next summer and plant again in the fall. – JB