Disturbed Environment Colonizers

We’re in the process of moving into our permanent location and we’ll be limiting our posts to short entries. Please bear with us.

The grounds of the Longborne property have not been consistently tended for the last three or four years. Abandoned fields and other areas are first colonized by certain types of plants that thrive in disturbed environments. In this case, briar and black locust have taken over the back yard.


Right now, thorned plants have taken over. Their defensive spikes would help them to keep the ground they have claimed. Over time, more forest-oriented species would take over. I’ve reversed this process in some areas where we want to grow a garden.

It is easy to see which plants are interlopers: each year woody stems put on about a centimeter of growth. I am taking out all of the shoots that are less than 5 cm (2 in) thick. The black locust is particularly difficult to deal with as it grows from disturbed roots, so I cannot simply cut the above ground part of the plant; I have to pull it out by its roots. The same is true for the briars, but they are much less pernicious. Both have nasty thorns and I have to wear gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection. Even still, I’ve gashed the back of my neck as a briar caught me unaware.

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