We've had a great deal of woody material to clear. One year we rented a 6" chipper: it was amazing. However, stockpiling all the material for the chipper took space and created habitat for snakes and birds. I didn't want to get to a situation where there were bird nests to disturb or copperheads to surprise me when working on the pile. We invested in a 3" Patriot Chipper shredder. It's definitely been worth it. While 3" may sound like a large diameter, it helps get around branch forks and angles in the wood, as well as swallowing canopy.
There are some videos showing Patriot using the chipper to process cardboard for worm bedding (via the hopper, if i recall correctly).
Patriot's support is great. The manual is written well and warns you about most of the stupid things i ended up doing anyway. (Blocking the outflow and getting it jammed up with chips, dropping a bolt into the chipping chamber.) They advised me to try a telescoping rod with a magnet to find the dropped bolt, which worked well. I'm at a point where i need to sharpen the blades again and maintain it. I do wear the same helmet, ear guard, and mesh visor as one would with using a chainsaw, and i am glad of it.
I can't imagine running out of chippable material where i am, even if i manage to eradicate the shrubby invasives that prevent native understory plants from thriving, so it's been a great investment for us.
Well, Dichanthelium laxiflorum may be perennial, but it doesn't have the deep roots of the grasses you reference. It's found at woods edges and gaps and isn't a traditional prairie or savanna grass. It's shallow roots may be appropriate for NC clays (not the loam in the cutaway photo) and for competition with tree roots.
The perennial grasslands are wonderfully productive though, and North Carolina did have prairie and savanna ecosystems when settlers arrived. The loamy surface of the soil where i am was eroded away with cotton farming, though.
I adore this grass -- photos of it in seed are at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24525837. The second photo shows bare spaces -- this is an area where only a few tussocks were growing last year. I've been building up the but the seed bank.
When i moved here a few years ago i noticed the rosette grass here and there. It competed well against weedy annuals like goose grass and seems to be holding ground against stilt grass. For a couple years now i've held off mowing in May and June to let it go to seed. It doesn't get that tall when going to seed, and looks fairly attractive if i mow just before it really gets underway to get the cudweeds cut back. The soft green haze of the seed heads gets at most two feet high. Once i'm ready to cut the seed heads back, i'll mow again... and now where i have strong stands of this witchgrass i'm done mowing for the year! It makes a lovely turf and keeps my spouse comfortable because she can see the snakes when they move across the area. Where it is growing thickly isn't quite a monoculture. I've got the native violet, Viola sororia, growing in the spaces between the rosettes. In the spring, the violets bloom brightly as the grass is greening up: it's a lovely effect.
The tussocks take transplantation well. The roots are shallow enough that a shallow scoop is sufficient to successfully transplant by plopping it down where it's wanted. I do get them as "weeds" in the garden (as well as the violets) and i'm usually happy to move both to where they'll serve as a welcome ground cover. The grass grows in moderately deep shade as well as full sun.
Dichanthelium laxiflorum is native across the southeast US; members of the genus can be found across North America. While not all might have the low growth pattern of Dichanthelium laxiflorum, keep an eye out and see if there are native grasses you can use for your spaces.
I don't know when i might have seeds to share, but if you're interested let me know.
I lazily started a worm bin in a California apartment years ago. One rainy morning i found two red wriggling worms on my way to the car. I called my spouse and asked her to drop them into a five gallon tree pot that i had been dumping leaf litter into. From then on, for over ten years, veggie scraps went into that bucket and the worms thrived and reproduced. Every now and then i would dump the bucket out and manually separate worms and undigested stuff from the castings and use the casting in my potted plants. My conclusion is that worms are not fragile critters that need careful management of environment but they can cope with really hot and dry situations as well as freezing temperatures, plus random feeding without much fuss. I'm sure OPTIMAL casting production occurs with a managed environment, but i wouldn't let optimization get in the way of doing. I've bought a commercial worm farm now because i am dealing with a larger volume of scraps and the farm promises easier separation of castings from worms and undigested matter, and because it's in a more obtrusive location.
For Christmas, we were given a 500 gal Norwesco vertical tank (40148). I'm wondering if anyone has rigged a screen for rain water catchment in one of these tanks. My spouse would like a moderately attractive solution since she'll be looking at it from her desk.
I'm OK buying something because i have other places i can better spend my time than rigging this, but the for-purpose https://www.tank-depot.com/productdetails.aspx?part=RAINWTNW is a little more than i am excited to spend. (It's still less before shipping than i can find a single clean IBC tote going for in our area .)
I see there are prefab 16" rain baskets out there, but the manway is a 16 3/8" INNER diameter, and the usual 16" filter baskets seem to be just barely 16.3" diameter to the outside of their lips. Does that work?
The rim sticks up one inch with an 18 1/5" outer diameter. Buying screen and a big hose clamp seem like it could work, but that one inch is just barely enough room for the hose clamp itself.
Star of Bethlehem - poisonous - has the white vein. My Star of Bethlehem in 7b mid latitude North Carolina doesn't start sprouting until after the new year. It wasn't nightmarish the first year, but now we have an area into which we let the cats go, and i do worry about the cats eating the noxious stuff. Also, i hadn't seen the meadow of it behind the last wave of autumn olive.
20180423 first blooms in east lawn
20180212 Continued eradication effort during lunch while watching Luigi roam. Still some coming up under cutdown trees and in the moss garden.
20180211 Dug up sprouting Ornithogalum umbellatum from orchard-to-be area
20170414 Liliaceae: Ornithogalum umbellatum blooming
20170222 Lots of clumps behind the house, pushed through cardboard acting as weed barrier for walk. Several clumps in backyard. With this identification, will eradicate along the walk before mulching (instead of transplanting). Seems less nightmarish than the bittercress and chickweed.
No onion-like odor
leaves curl into tube, but not tubular like an onion. Pale line on the inside of the curve (plausibly the upper surface)
Thanks Angela. Do you know if the Everbearing can cross-pollinate with the native reds and then set viable seed (obviously would not necessarily have the traits of the Everbearing). Or is the Everbearing a hybrid?
Oh, to get someone to come harvest all the Allium canadense in our yard and garden plot. I hurl it into the neighboring woods when i successfully pull it up, fearing any composting attempt is just going to spread the plant more. I've tried cooking with it, but it seems overpowering.
I've just planted two native red mulberry seedlings grown by someone else in the county. I am pondering my odds of a mating pair and whether i should get a plant like the everbearing to ensure fruit. My hope was for birds to start seeding the woods so native fruits could grow as i eradicate my understory of Autumn Olive. (Almost all the leaves are off trees except for the oaks -- and the autumn olive is just beginning to turn yellow. What an advantage over the native plants!)
i have dreamed about growing trees since i was in my 20s, doing research and so on, and i have finally moved to where i could have a bit of land just as i turned 50. I;m in a much milder climate than you This summer i was planning my plantings, i know i got quite anxious about getting it just right. I've finally relaxed and recognized if i make mistakes, i will adapt.
I don't think trees generally tap into "underground lakes" -- i think the word you are looking for is aquifer? That tends to be too deep for plants and is tapped by wells. The other term in English is "water table" and refers to how deep you dig and tap the flow of water through the soil and rock. A place with a very shallow water table is not going to be that good for trees like chestnuts. You would be able to tell by digging a hole and seeing water flow in and fill the bottom.
From my reading, in a suitable climate, one should be able to provide water during droughts for the first few years but once the trees are established in a suitable location they will be able to survive on rain and water in the soil.
Congratulations on your trees from seed! I collected six seeds from an orchard last October and have planted one of the surviving two seedlings in my orchard area. I've bought a small Dunstan chestnut (blight tolerant American-Chinese hybrid suitable for the very mild winters and humid summers of the US southeast) as well to add a little diversity to the genetics. The orchard trees descended from Dunstan trees as well, so the genetics are still the Chinese-American hybrid.
I've seen some rather sculptural insect habitats that might get past code and encourage neighbors to also create habitat. Here's an example: https://insteading.com/blog/insect-hotel/ . Searching on bug hotel and insect hotel turns up lots of ideas.
Most of what i've read have advised getting rid (mowing, pulling) of it in August to prevent new seed set. I also found a thick layer (3 inches ish) of pine straw has kept the seed bank from germinating in some places where i weeded out the stiltgrass in the late summer the previous year. I've also buried it in my clay for biomass at the bottom of a too deep potato trench. I didn't notice any residue when digging the potatoes this summer, although i certainly had stiltgrass weeds from seed drop when distributing the "straw."
I find the native witch grass/rosette grass (Dichanthelium sp) does not seem as invaded by stilt grass as other grasses. The species i have has rosettes that are green all winter and set seed in the spring. I'm encouraging that grass as my turf.
I've found crownbeard (Verbesina occidentalis) to have seedlings that out-compete stiltgrass (excellent plant for pollinators, perennial, sprouts each year from a root crown) as do the established plants. Similarly with bearsfoot (Smallanthus uvedalius), another perennial sunflower that attracts polinators and sprouts from roots each year. Bearsfoot is in the same species as the Andean crop Yacón, so that crop might out compete stiltgrass grown thickly. I'm suspecting that sunchoke (Helianthus tuberosus) will also out compete. Unfortunately, what i need is a competitor for deeper shade.
I tried planting a number of things in the woods to see if they might also compete. I suspect sedges may, and have tried yellow nutsedge or chufa (Cyperus esculentus) which USDA's plants profile has as both native and introduced in my region. I understand wild turkeys in particular make use of the "nuts". I've not gotten back into the woods to see how the plants did. The one i planted in the garden is thriving in a bed where it can fight things out with a mint. Ground nut (Apios americana) sounded like it might spread thickly enough to threaten the stilt grass, but the test plants at the edge of the woods haven't grown well at all, much less gotten to where they could compete with anything.
It's one of my nemeses, and so i have sympathy for neighbors resenting others keeping the stuff around. Not sure poisoning the stuff is the right track, though.