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Old 04-26-2018, 10:53 PM   #1
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Default Mr. Weedy's hopefully no longer weedy field project

Well I figured I'd make a post about the work and hopefully the rewards of my Habitat improvement project. I'm calling it a habitat improvement project cause I don't know what was originally in the place before it was a farm field.

Anyways here is some pictures and I'll update and comment as I go along trying to plant approx 2 acres with native grasses and forbs.

I'll start with what I did today. In the lowest area that was once over grown the worse with box elder I'm trying to prepare the soil for seeding. So I raked up all the leaves and little bits of grass that was growing there. I burned some of it before hand but there was not much fuel on the ground so it burned pretty poorly. I now have 3 rows of rakings that I'm going to try and burn tomorrow. Supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow afternoon that might make it difficult. If I have to I'll pick it all up and use the rakings to cover trails in the woods, a type of mulch.

I have to get the area cleared of debris because I have a mini-excavator coming Tuesday to pull all the box elder stumps. The stumps make it hard to mow and they will make it hard to "rough up" the soil for plantiong.

Anyways here is some pictures.

the first one is a view of the lowest area. Its about 250ft east to west x 80 ft north to south. The lower 1/2 was the messiest area.

The 2nd one is my burning attempt, pretty weak stuff, I know.

The last one shows some of the box elder stumps. They are about 2 years old, so hopefully they will come out easy.
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Mr. Weedy's hopefully no longer weedy field project-bottom-field-001.jpg   Mr. Weedy's hopefully no longer weedy field project-bottom-field-003.jpg   Mr. Weedy's hopefully no longer weedy field project-bottom-field-005.jpg  
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Old 04-27-2018, 08:58 AM   #2
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Oh yes. You've a hand full but also a great start and an outlook on a project as such.
What are the posts-trees in the last photo? If living won't the ripping up of the stumps harm their roots a big plenty or are those just posts to a garden fence or something of the sort?
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:42 AM   #3
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What part of Wisconsin are you in? Maybe this will help you determine what the land was like before the farm

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...sx6kRhXskhFZDA

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...PL-gPoa_2d371J

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...iOgR42pBZHds5M
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Old 04-28-2018, 07:44 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by havalotta View Post
Oh yes. You've a hand full but also a great start and an outlook on a project as such.
What are the posts-trees in the last photo? If living won't the ripping up of the stumps harm their roots a big plenty or are those just posts to a garden fence or something of the sort?
Those are a variety of Apple trees, Dolgo Crab, Prairie Crab, common Apple and Another Crab apple I can't remember right now (old Age kicking in).

Those trees are pretty small their roots are far from the stumps I'll be pulling.
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Old 04-28-2018, 08:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by skip1909 View Post
What part of Wisconsin are you in? Maybe this will help you determine what the land was like before the farm

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...sx6kRhXskhFZDA

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...PL-gPoa_2d371J

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...iOgR42pBZHds5M
I'm in the eastern side about mid way between Green Bay and Milwaukee.
Sheboygan County, about 20 miles in land from the lake.

I think one can get an idea by whats left for trees. Sheboygan Co. is on the border of the southern edge of the White Pine as you can see in some of the Forests large White Pine scattered in. This is mostly in the northern part and some what along the lake shore. Also in some areas here and there you see large Burr Oaks, which are a Savanna or prairie edge tree. All these Burr Oaks are large, approx 3 ft in dia., some more and they grow as a tree would in the open, lots of large branches close to the ground. How long does it take for a Burr Oak to get that big? 150 years? The majority of the forests are a mix of Sugar Maple, Red and White Oak, Basswood, Hickory, Blkack Cherry and some other species.

Right on my place there is a small chunk with larger Sugar Maple another chunk of the forest is mostly smaller Shagbark hickory and lots of large Aspen. There are lots of rocks in the ground so I know that the woods was never used for growing crop, however the younger part of my woods with the aspen/hickory was probably used as a pasture at some point. Was this area grass/prairie originally? There are a couple of Burr Oaks with in a mile of my place. These would only be growing in a more open environment. Its a mystery that has some clues.

I was told by the previous owner of the land that small corner of my younger woodlot was once an Apple Orchard, but that disease wiped out the majority of the trees. You can find the corpses and one or two old apple trees one the edge of the woods in that area. Of course that would of been done by the first settlers.

Another item is there are a few old rock walls in the area made by the original settlers when clearing the land. The field my hose sits in the south side and for a little ways along the south eastern side is old rock wall. It was made when the field was cleared over a hundred years ago. This wall is about 8ft wide and about 3-4 ft high in places. Lots of rocks where piled up to farm this field I'm sitting now. When they cleared the field why did they stop where they did? why did they not go further west or south? I don't think this chunk I own was ever divided up smaller than what it is now. One clue might be that there are some more larger rocks (3-4 ft in dia) in the forest. Maybe the settlers looked at those and said "no way".

Anyways, I've keybabbled enough.

Thanks for the links, I'll read thru them tonight.

I've got to get back to work, leaves to rake up, no rest for the wicked.
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:34 AM   #6
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I'm looking forward to seeing some "after" shots.
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:26 PM   #7
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I'm looking forward to seeing some "after" shots.
I hope your patient, it may take 3-5 years to really shine.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:41 AM   #8
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I have spent the last week pulling stumps, about 150 primarily box elder stumps from about 1" in dia to maybe 8 inches in dia. Then I hauled out all the stumps and made a deluxe critter condo in the woods (brush pile). After which I had to fill in the holes left by the digging and removed stumps. The area looked like there had been a war. So after all that I realized that maybe this spring is too early to plant the lowest 1/4 acre of my 2 acre project. Lots of small woody plants primarily sugar maples that I need to get rid of. Also I think with all the digging I'm sure I exposed a whole new lot of weed seeds from the soil bank.

So I figured best to wait till fall and start the seeds in a "cleaner" field. Give them a better foundation.

I also finished up a "rain garden" area that started as a very small retention pond for run off that ended up eroding the bank away and failed. There was more water that ran into it than it could store.

So I added an stand pipe for over flow and rebuilt the berm that will allow the pond to only hold so much water before it is passed down hill to run off some more. This area and 2 others that seem to hold water and are always the last places to dry out I'm going to plant a seed mix that is more wet orientated.
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Old 05-12-2018, 03:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by weedy feilds View Post
I hope your patient, it may take 3-5 years to really shine.
~smile~

I am patient...but you can post some "during" pictures between the "before" and "after" ones.

Trust me, I know it takes a while--and, unfortunately for me, I had several setbacks, so I'm thinking I will need another 3 to 4 years before I have a meadow resembling what I have in mind.
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Old 05-12-2018, 03:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by weedy feilds View Post
I have spent the last week pulling stumps, about 150 primarily box elder stumps from about 1" in dia to maybe 8 inches in dia. Then I hauled out all the stumps and made a deluxe critter condo in the woods (brush pile). After which I had to fill in the holes left by the digging and removed stumps. The area looked like there had been a war. So after all that I realized that maybe this spring is too early to plant the lowest 1/4 acre of my 2 acre project. Lots of small woody plants primarily sugar maples that I need to get rid of. Also I think with all the digging I'm sure I exposed a whole new lot of weed seeds from the soil bank.

So I figured best to wait till fall and start the seeds in a "cleaner" field. Give them a better foundation.

I also finished up a "rain garden" area that started as a very small retention pond for run off that ended up eroding the bank away and failed. There was more water that ran into it than it could store.

So I added an stand pipe for over flow and rebuilt the berm that will allow the pond to only hold so much water before it is passed down hill to run off some more. This area and 2 others that seem to hold water and are always the last places to dry out I'm going to plant a seed mix that is more wet orientated.
It sounds like you have been quite busy.

I'm so glad that you created a brushpile with the stumps. I hope it supports a lot of creatures and you can enjoy the birds while you vision is slightly delayed.

I have a huge brushpile here and have white-throated sparrows nesting--seems their population is growing since I put in some brushpile (I have some smaller ones, too).
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