It’s Michal at the Lockeford PMC, NRCS. Just a quick update this time. July has been a very busy month — I’ve been trying to get everything locked down for this restoration project I’m carrying out. After we finally got our brushcutter, Jeff and I set off to start clearing the blackberry thicket (Rubus armeniacus) that I wrote about last time. And boy oh boy, let me tell you that it’s not very fun, but very satisfying when you see progress being made.
It may not look like it, but much of the thicket is over 5ft tall so it took quite a bit of effort and patience to get through it all. To complicate things, there are a lot of heavy branches hidden between the canes to avoid.
We also spent a week clearing willows, which we will mulch back into the clearing as fertilizer and to retain soil moisture. We were careful to pile any walnuts into a non-mulch pile, as walnuts (Juglans sp) contain juglone, an allelopathic compound. The next step is to spray a pre-emergent herbicide to prepare the site, all the meanwhile allowing the blackberries to foliate again so we can herbicide them in the fall when they are translocating nutrients to the roots and are most vulnerable.
I have also been writing the USDA Plant Guide for California mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana). Because it is such an important plant to Native Californians, not only medicinally but also spiritually, I put a lot of effort into my research to make sure I do it justice. When it gets published, I’ll update everyone and post the link so you guys can check it out.
I hope everyone is learning a lot and doing well!
USDA-NRCS, Lockeford, California.