“It takes a village to raise a child”; and, “it takes a team to restore a habitat”. I didn’t make up the first half of that sentence but I claim the second half. Last Saturday, the Habitat Restoration Team worked the Denier restoration fields.
It was HOT so we brought a lot of water and a lot of ice. I, for one, poured as much of that miracle liquid down the outside of my neck as I did down the inside of my neck. That field was bone dry and there was no shade.
The Nature Conservancy spent a lot of money putting in a well and laying drip lines to keep the plants alive while they pushed their new roots to the water table.
In between the rows of native trees that serpentine across the parched earth we also planted thousands of native grasses. Those grasses evolved to survive our California summers without irrigation so they will do well. The trees, however, need the irrigation and that water attracts invasive weeds that suck up the scarce water from the drip lines.
Without the help from HRT, this forest to be would take a very long time to establish. HRT came out to pull up a pretty little alien called puncture vine.
When the vine’s seeds root near water in these dry sunny fields, they lay down a thick dense mat over the wet spot and drink their fill. When you turn their mat over you can see the large quantities of puncture thorns just waiting to take root.
HRT gently pulls the vines out by their roots and stuffs them into black plastic garbage bags where they will literally cook under the hot sun.
When this forest grows, the shade that forms will kill these little ground huggers and we are on our way to a healthy native habitat.
So, are we glad we gave this expanded forest a helping hand? What do you think?