The intermediate area between forest and yard, called an edge habitat, is typically infected with invasive vines and shrubs. This type of environment harbors disease carrying pests like fleas and ticks. Barberry, wild raspberry, poison ivy, grapevines, and other invasive plant species quickly overwhelm trees and make the ground impassable for us. Mice, which carry ticks, prefer such sheltered environments.
Does this look familiar? Typical New England edge environment shown with overgrown invasives.
A homeowner in Stone Ridge, New York had just such an overgrown area on his property. The family could not traverse the area without picking up ticks or being assaulted by various thorny plants and poison ivy. They wanted better and safer use of the property and called Poison Ivy Patrol to remove the poison ivy growing throughout the wooded area of the property. Once we showed them why the poison ivy was there and what they could have instead, the project quickly escalated to woodland restoration.
Property to be cleared shows diseased, dead, and dying trees, multiflora rose bushes, and barberry bushes.
We completed the project in two phases. The first phase, in November, entailed clearing the invasive vines and shrubs. This incurred some risk to the team who cleared the area over a 4-day period.
The whole place was crawling with ticks. We made a game out of who picked off the most ticks in one day. The record one day was 29. Ticks transmit disease: lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other diseases to housepets and humans.
Once the trees, shrubs, and vines were cleared, we cut down the dead, dying and diseased trees that were a drain on the healthier trees.
A healthy beech tree now has plenty of room and sunlight to live a long life.
Hudson Valley winters being brutal, the team returned in May to finish the job. We chipped everything and spread the chips over the cleared ground.
The wood chips serve as compost, putting nutrients back into the soil as they decay to help the remaining healthy trees thrive. The chips also help to stifle future weed growth and provide habitat for insects, macroinvertebrates, which in turn are food for birds, squirrels and other forest dwelling animals.
Red cedar trees and brush being lined up for chipping.
Wood chips being sprayed over woodland area which has been cleared of unwanted trees and brush.
The restored woodland effectively doubles the usable land on the property. The owner’s children can now play in an easily accessible and much safer woodland area.
Restored woodland requires maintenance, a service which PI Patrol offers. These plants have been producing seeds for years, and whatever was there will want to come back up again. When we return to the property next year, it will be quick and easy to dig up the sprouts that come up. The final step in woodland restoration is to plant native understory trees and shrubs, bringing in more birds, etc., which will jumpstart the ecosystem and complete the biological cycle.
Stay tuned to read about some of the projects where we did just that.
Low stone wall at the back of the property shows a clear division between the restored, healthy woodland area and the overgrown, unhealthy woodland beyond.
If you have a wooded property that looks like this one did, and is in need of some TLC, call Poison Ivy Patrol at (845) 687-9528 to schedule a consultation.