It’s late summer – where’s the nectar?

I stopped procrastinating on a mission to crawl under the deck and fill in the ground squirrel holes and barricade them with chicken wire. Afterwards I was rewarded with a moment with the native asters (A. hallii) which were looking floriferous after getting some irrigation.

Then I noticed that they were alive with pollinators. Many small flies and bees, also a butterfly that showed up recently which is a skipper, probably a woodland skipper since those are common. This is why we need to leave some undisturbed ground and vegetation, since many pollinators are ground nesters or use vegetation to pupate or stow their eggs.

See a video of the action on my Taylor Gardens Facebook feed

In the Beginning … (before/after)

Underneath the scotch broom, Douglas fir seedlings, and poison oak, somewhere there was an oak savanna. The first thing the Conservation District did was to bring in a machine called a skid steer shear. Which pretty much does what it says. This versatile piece of equipment mowed between the trees, then cut them at ground level and stacked them into slash piles.

(See one in action here at 11:00 min and here on our property)

After the radical surgery, one more pass with the mower, and the first phase was done. Immediately after mowing it looks pretty raw, but shortly will recover with grass and wildflowers released from the overstory. The work pictured here was done in 2007.

Mower almost hidden in the old growth scotch broom

Scotch broom is a non native invasive plant, originally thought to be a good plant for erosion control. It only belongs where it is native, and that’s not here! Introductions by well-meaning people often turn out to be really bad ideas, and this one was a major ecosystem destroyer – altering soil nitrogen and competing aggressively, with a seed bank that lasts for many decades. After the mowing, constant weed control of the resprouts and seedlings will continue for years and years.

Mower with raised deck grinding small trees

Immediately after mowing ground was reseeded with native grass

The deer adopted an interested yet bemused attitude to the work