Fall Activities at Oakhurst

Fall is the time when plants prepare to go dormant, culminating in the dramatic color change of foliage followed by the fall of leaves. Chemicals located in leaves are disassembled and moved into the stems and roots for storage, along with the nutrients needed to survive the winter. Many woody and perennial plants are susceptible to herbicide at this time, since it is readily taken up and transported to the roots. Seasonal birds will start the migration south, and most adult insects will begin die, with the next generation surviving in one of the immature stages. Squirrels and chipmunks are busy build their caches that will see then through the winter.

Harvesting Seed

In September and October, the seedheads of many prairie species are mature and ready for picking, so this task becomes a priority. Collecting seed allows us to redistribute plant species across the preserve, seeding areas of low diversity or enriching others. Once a plant is established in a new area, it will reseed itself, and that population slowly expand over time.

All collected seed is allowed to dry out, processed to a degree, before being broadcast later in the year.

Priority workzone: G1.1.1, G1.1.2, G1.1.3, G1.4.3, W1.1.1, F4.2

Treating Resprouts

October and November are great times of the year to go after resprouts and new growth. Whenever an area is cleared of invasive brush, some of the cut stumps may have resprouted - either they escaped the herbicide treatment or it was not effective. There will also be a flush of new growth as dormant seed germinates.

Since the leaves of most native trees and shrubs have changed color or dropped, it is easy to spot those of resprouts. This allows you to scout an area, and head in the direction of those spots of green.

Priority workzone: G1.1.5, F4.2, F2.1.2, F2.1.4

Cutting Brush

September is when I start cutting honeysuckle and buckthorn once again, although I usually focus on an area outside of the main woods, where mosqUitoes are less of a problem.

Priority workzone: G1.4.1, G1.4.2, F2.4.3, F2.4.4,