Friday, October 5, 2012

A Noble Effort

Day 228
The Daily DuBrule

This week my crew and I have been involved in an extremely challenging project. We are working in a woodland area that borders a salt marsh. This had been let go for years and it was filled with the typical invasive plants- multiflora rose, bittersweet, cat briar, and poison ivy. The entire area contains dozens of well established burning bushes. This woodland space is set in a condominium community where burning bushes are everywhere, hundreds of them. Trying to eliminate them from the woodland garden or even trying to convince the residents of this community that they are a bad thing is, at this point, impossible.

My amazing crew cleared the slope by hand and hauled away truckloads of brush. Some people suggested that I just Roundup the entire area to prepare it for planting. That was out of the question. Instead, we are doing the work the hard way. I would never apply an herbicide next to a marsh. Period. Roundup, according to my research, is toxic. It turns out that the active ingredient, glycophosphate, is less problematic than the inert ingredients. I have never used it and never will. Instead we are using many methods to restore this habitat. Clearing by hand the old fashioned way is one, planting fast growing native plants and smothering with planter's paper underneath the mulch is another, and LEAVING THE LEAVES as they fall is a third.

This project is frustrating in that the burning bushes won't go away as long as they are planted on all of the surrounding property. The work we are doing is a major compromise. The budget is not sufficient to do all that I would like to do and the followup care of this landscape will determine if the hundreds of native plants-bayberries, redtwig dogwoods, blueberries, Christmas ferns, Fothergilla, Itea, pussywillow, swamp azaleas, oakleaf hydrangeas, etc.- will transform this formerly neglected and sad landscape to a place of natural beauty.


  1. I really hope this condo project thrives. What a testament to native plantings it could be. It's the time of year again for that darn burning bush to shine in it's spotlight, then we see it all over the woods-taking over and it is so frustrating. Hope you can convince them to leave the leaves where they fall too. I am sure the weekly landscape crew will get there and fire up the leaf blowers! :(
    Nice job-looking forward to hearing more about this project!

  2. We see the normal property maintenance guys everyday so we'll let them know but I think Nancy already mentioned that to them.