A Race With The Weather

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I may have bitten off more than I can chew. This last trip to the nursery for the riparian seedlings tempted me to get a full pickup load of plants since the last batch had went into the ground so quickly. Continue reading

Second Pickup Load Of Seedlings

We are now on our second pickup load of seedlings for the riparian zone along the river. We have been concentrating on the four areas where Mike had used the bulldozer to eradicate (if only for a short time until they start growing again) those huge patches of invasive blackberries have now been replanted with a mixture of willow, cedar, white fir, hemlock and a few of other species that like ‘wet feet’. That means these seedlings are close enough to the river that and surface water to have moist ground all year long and sometimes may be underwater during flooding or prolonged rainy spells.

The rest of this load of mostly Douglas fir with a few other varieties prefer not to be in the wettest areas and they will be planted around the established alder trees that are nearing the end of their natural life span and on those higher banks of the river. The sandy soil drains quickly in these areas and their root will not stay submerged for extended periods.

With the last pickup load I had both Mike and Marilyn as full time helpers. Mike packed the trees into the area to be planting while Marilyn and I had to hustle to keep up with the flow of seedlings headed our way.

For this load, helpers came from farther away. It was a wonderful treat to get to visit with friends while we are digging and planting, with the sun shining on a glorious fall day.

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Take Thee To The Riparian

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My readers are the best! A while ago, I had mentioned that November 1 was the beginning of the dormant season and that I was planning on doing some seedling planting. I was gently reminded that although I talked about the plan, no story of actual planting was getting posted. I appreciate the nudge, so here is the story that I almost forgot. Continue reading

Dog On Duty

While we were busy with the riparian seedlings, the dogs had time to snoop around. Butler and Jackson enjoyed the sunny weather to scout around the understory of large cedar and Douglas Fir trees that line the river and they splashed around at the edge of the water line.

When I took a break from planted and looked around to see what they were up to, I found that Butler had tired himself out and decided he was due for some quiet time.

Black and white dog gaurding seedlings.He stationed himself right in the middle of the riparian planting in a brilliant spot of sunlight. He appeared to be on guard duty white he took his breather from the more strenuous job of scouting out the local critters that could damage our tender trees.

The day of planting went well and I did go back and straighten the leaning seedling after I looked at the picture and realized the problem.


Wet Ground For Riparian Plants

On a day when the rain was chunky( a mix of rain and snow), I was able to get some riparian seedlings planted along the wet area where the swamp from the bull pen drains toward the river.

Seedlings planted in wet riparian area.This time of year the ground is saturated and once two or three shovels full are taken out below the surface turf, puddles form in the bottom of the hole. I got wet from the bottom and from the top on this task. The seedlings planted in this area are happiest with “wet feet”, today I put in spruce and hemlock plants.

These seedlings were growing in 12 inch pots so the holes I am digging are at minimum 1 and 1/2 times the depth of the shovel spade head. A four inch hole is all that is needed but in order to get a hole that deep it has to be quite a bit wider so care is needed to tamp soil back in tight around the root ball of the seedling to vanquish all air holes trapped around the roots. The seedlings are planted fairly close together since the survival rate for the first year is not stellar, and I still plan on going in again with more leafy varieties like cherry, alder and maple to plant in and around this batch of plants.

Putting In Seedlings In Riparian Zone

Seedlings in Gator by the river.It was all hands on deck to get the seedlings put into the ground before a storm moved into the area that is expected to bring first snow then the coldest temperatures of the year.

We had a volunteer to help with the planting on this day. There were 20 spruce, 10 cedar, 10 maple and 20 white fir to get into the ground along the Nehalem River. Even Butler the dog helped by digging holes, I shooed him out of the way a couple of times to did a larger spot to place the 1 foot roots into deep holes.

Planting seedlings in brush along the riparian zone.Planting in thick brush consisting of snowberry and buck brush is hard work because of all the roots, but once down 6 inches or so the fine, silty soil below is much easier to dig.

It took four of us (plus the dog) 2 1/2 hours to complete the planting of the 60 trees. The wind howled at times up along the ridge of the hill and gusted between spitting rain showers and beautiful rainbows.

Rainbow in hayfield.We had the opportunity to see a couple of bald eagles as they scouted the river and struggle to stay flying as the strong winds buffeted them during their patrol.

Within hours after completing the planting, the rain had moved in and continued raining until midnight.