reforest and briar
Just acquired 4ac south west VA that had been partially logged about 6 years ago. We have built on the property and at my request they left as many trees as they could that were left.. about 1ac in the front and east side are now grass (I will deal with that down the road I dont want any grass..) across the back of the house maybe 100ft to the north better than 150ft wide is also grass, again I will deal with that later.. we put in almost 20 2-15ft trees, assorted oaks, maples, crape myrtles, weeping willow, redbuds, blue spruce and a white birch, mostly in the front, a few in the back, all are doing well.
North beyond the grass area behind the house, we made a circular drive, leaving almost 1/3ac open in the center that has 8 really nice trees.
West side from the edge of this drive to the forest line is about 20-50ft deep heavy with saplings and LOTS of briar and wild blackberry..
Across the north side beyond the drive is about 75ftx100 grass to the treeline of heavy woods, same with the east side, grass then heavy woods.
The ground is 99% heavy red clay.. stuff grows, sun, shade everywhere.. its horrible to work, completely different from the Yankee Long Island dirt I was born and raised with. The woods are hardwoods, oaks, maples, lots of tulip poplar, redbud, dogwood, hickory and other nut trees. Some "scrub" pine, I am not sure what exactly they are, but they are pines for sure.
Along the woods edge is briar, horrible poke you right through your jeans, make you run to Walmart for a pair of kneehigh rubberboots horrible. In the 2 years we own the property (we're not here full time just yet) the briar along the woodlines are getting worse.. Oh yes also throned wild blackberry - "the sweetest in the county" they tell me, yes nice, they got to go... there is also a decent amount of thorned locust trees. The briar is stalks not vines, heavily thorned, will whip back and grab your hair with no warning, when cut invariably attach themselves to your gloves, shirt jeans..
I have sprayed the briar with the regular bought at Lowes Roundup, waited a week, it laughs at me. I now have the commercial concentrate of Roundup. We were here for a week in Nov and I walked the tree line with a pair of lopers and the Round up mixed at 4oz/gal.. I loped the briar stalks and locusts that the lopers would cut close to the ground, many were still green inside, and sprayed the cr@p out of them.. not sure if anything thats going to do until spring arrives, today there is still some snow on the ground..
In the middle of the circle drive also there are many nice saplings emerging. There is some briar in there but it is manageable with the Roundup and some pulling of crowns.
I have 2 visions for the back.. the grass area north beyond the circle and area to the west & east of the drive to reforest. In the center of the circle drive - wild flowers, an arbor/gate with ivy, some shrubs, ornamental grasses that sort of thing and path ways.. we have been rock foraging and making the pathways.
I just ordered 2lbs of NE wild flower mix that I will mix with 2lbs of "low meadow grass" (3-5" growth) that I will put in the circle drive area and in the west of the circle from the drive to the tree line.
I am hoping to order several saplings from the VA Forestry place and have a friend put them in the grassy area north of the circle drive.. I have several stands of daffodils spotted around in the woods that all came up nice last year.. (this city girl is learning fast) the deer and other critters all feasted on the tulips and other assorted things I brought down from my NY gardens. (Hubby says I need to stop putting out the smorgasbord for the deer!).
I don't really want to brushog either area because I want the saplings to grow.. I don't really want to disc the circle area to prep for the wild flower seed because of the saplings, my neighbor came in Nov and helped me plant several varities of corn flowers in the circle and I have established some strawberries already back there... I was thinking to either put straw down after seeding like they did when the grass seed was put down, or maybe a very light cover of mulch over the seed..
Am I on the right track with this project?? I plan on every trip down to lop whatever briar I can get at and heavy selective spray allowing nature to do it's thing.. hehe according to my rules :)
If I see progress with these 2 areas, I have another area along the woodline I want to wild flower, then in the woods to the north continue attacking the briar and re-establish the walk paths that you cant walk on now because of the briar..
Any comments or more ideas from anyone who has been through this??
you can see the front well and get a small idea of the back in the link below
Here is a link that might be useful: the property