August 1, 2015: Judy, Kate and I decided it was time to remove multiflora rose and several species of invasive vines from a large red maple on the north side of the lower fence. The maple leaves of this tree are excessively small, a sign that it is under stress.
We used every tool in the box for this job: folding limb saws, large weed wrench, loppers, pruners and even sheets of corrugated cardboard to step on and crush massive volumes of thorny canes of multiflora rose.
Everyone cheered when this large old red maple tree was released from the vines, which would have eventually killed it.
Crab apple and mulberry trees are also under stress from invasive vines…
Along the fence lines and in the lower meadow are crab apple trees planted generations ago. Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, reports these trees host over 300 species of beneficial moths and butterflies that in turn are an important food source for birds.
Farmer Jim cut and hacked away at the huge vines that had rooted beneath the canopy at the foot of this apple tree. Once the leaves of the dying vines — now turning purple — drop off, the tree will have access to the light it needs to survive.
Porcelain berry, closely resembling our native wild grape, is one of the more invasive vines climbing the trees we worked on. It is also very difficult to uproot…
It took five of us using a shovel and pulaski axe to dig up this tenacious porcelain berry root at the lower fence line. Unfortunately, any part of the root or vine left in or on the ground will regrow.
This is an earlier, before picture of the south side of the lower fence showing a row of ubiquitous autumn olive shrubs in the foreground and invasive vines covering both the fence and a large mulberry tree (possibly native) in the center back.
As seen in this after picture… we cut and removed the invasive shrubs south of the lower fence, and uprooted most vines covering a mulberry tree during the first two weeks in August. This was done to prepare the ground for seeding native warm season grasses and herbaceous wildflowers.
We also wanted to prepare the ground to plant a garden inside the double fence line. One of the species being considered is milkweed for attracting Monarch butterflies.