May 3, 2021. Sunday was overcast in the mid seventies - the perfect climate for some much needed spring housekeeping in the Greenbelt. The established chokecherry (Prunus vinginiana) were blooming on the east end of the property but the the entire thicket was threatened by overgrowth of aggressive vines. Riverbank grape (Vitis reparia) is a native species to Kansas with the ability to climb 20-30 feet into the tree canopy and choke the life out of them. These vines had already killed a couple of trees in the area. I cut them out, all the way back to their base and dragged away the foliage and other debris. The remaining clearing will serve as an excellent planting base for the next shipment of perennials arriving the end of May.

In addition to that hearty physical challenge, I moved the newly planted dwarf crested irises to a shadier spot on the east end of the property - near the established and newly saved chokecherry thicket. The previous spot was just a little to sunny and dry for optimal growth. They should do well in the new North East exposure along the bank of the stream.

The other major task was part of my ongoing Johnson grass eradication effort. Last season I attempted to control it using a weedwhacker which was utterly ineffective. My traditional string weedwhacker was no match for the tough conditions of the Greenbelt in summer. An industrial grade machine with a metal blade might work to control growth but if eradication is the goal then hand-pulling is the only way. At this point in the season, the grasses were visible but still short and the soil was loose enough they could be ripped out by the roots. I was surprisingly able to tear out a good portion of the grass around the perimeter. But it was back-breaking work. I was thankful for the break in sunshine and cooler temperatures.

I ended the work day by wrapping the emerging red oak seedlings and newly planted aronia melanocarpa with hobby wire to protect them from foraging deer. All-in-all it the day made an impact on the aesthetics. I was excited to see all of the emerging budding forbes.

Posted on May 03, 2021 01:46 PM by ann223 ann223


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