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What is with this really weird plant spread?? How did this happen?

 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Quarantine has us wandering our own property and improving it in different ways. My husband recently used the tractor to make a path for walking/biking/etc around a portion of the property. We'll be doing an obstacle course around it with telephone poles and it'll be fantastic, but that's not what this is about. Now that we are walking more of our property we've noticed something really odd. This is the back fence line of our property and it has this strip of plant life which is really noticeable as most of our property is quite dead. It goes from our sainfoin field all the way to the very corner of the property where it makes a sort of ring and stops. That's weird enough. Even weirder is the shape of this plant strip. They're backward C shaped strips inside the strip. Look at the pictures for what I mean by that. This plant strip is sainfoin, alfalfa and grass which are all things I'd planted on our main 10 acres. So it's obviously spreading but there is no alfalfa in this area at all and the grass is also way farther away with the alfalfa so..how did that get there? It's all very odd. What do you all think? Obviously we were thinking it must be a water path but when looking at it it doesn't really look sloped so we just don't know.
101752600_10158291540283633_1354710295217438720_n.jpg
The corner ring/end of plant strip
The corner ring/end of plant strip
101925007_10158291539968633_4801760831198986240_n.jpg
plant strip from ring to out of sight.
plant strip from ring to out of sight.
101704524_10158291539798633_3863295238479020032_n.jpg
close up of part of plant strip, can kind of see the )
close up of part of plant strip, can kind of see the )
101688791_10158291539168633_4600900625402691584_n.jpg
What the )?
What the )?
101558693_10158291538698633_8799581124062871552_n.jpg
plant strip starting from sainfoin field.
plant strip starting from sainfoin field.
 
gardener
Posts: 410
Location: Monticello Florida zone 8a
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                           ALIENS..........

Just kidding! XD had to say that. No good idea really, except for water.
 
gardener
Posts: 861
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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I don't know really, but this train of thought appeared. Here in the fields i've noticed blackberries and asked the farmer why it grew there. Dead deer he said. He had burried it. That started the blackberries.
Blackberries love nitrogen. Inside big plots of blackberries, the birds come, not a lot of cows. Bird droppings cause Hawthorn/blackthorn  bushes to flourish. Hawthorn/blackthorn shrubs are called the oakmother.
Nowadays in UK, volunteers spend their time in natural parks fighting back the Hawthorn/blackthorn shrub-areas.
In middle ages cutting Hawthorn/blackthorn shrubs would get you whipped. No one was to touch the spread of the oak mother shrubs. Long term view was kind of in place.

The Alfalfa probably catches a lot more dew in the morning then the sainfoin. Try growing your local horribly invasive shrub with terrible spikes on that spot and you'll be looking at trees in twenty years. Maybe worth a thought. Looks like it could do with trees!
 
pollinator
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Two thoughts come to mind...

Along the fence, as previously mention birds eating/carrying seed perch on fence and drop or poop. The fenceline would provide marginal shade, and the slats collect water during rain events that would drip down, creating a higher moisture content in the soil.

I do think you are on the right track with water - underground or surface - to that end I would be tempted to get one of those "moisture meters" used commonly for house plants, and measure the moisture in the soil.

I suspect it is likely as simple as marginally lower spots that collect moisture/runoff from rain, snow or even dew, creating a higher moisture level that is more likely to encourage germination. The growth along the road or path is likely the "low" side where precip would drain to/collect and/or where seed etc. would be deposited by prevailing wind

The curving shapes would, IMO, be the "edges" of puddles that form during precipitation events, flushing/collecting seed at the lowest point, along with other debris that would act as mulch. I would not be surprised if the middle of the curve matches the direction of the prevailing wind.
 
gardener
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What Lorinne suggests sounds logical. And I like Hugo's musing about a hedge.
I am curious why there are no bigger shrubs or trees on your property? Is this land relatively new, do you need to move the fencing around or anything else?

Planting a hedge would slow down winds (and thus minimize erosion), catch dew, provide habitat (for birds...) and nectar/pollen for the pollinators.
In the beginning you could plant sparsely and see what the birds "drop" to fill the gaps.

Probably you have to deal with very little water, but there might be some hardy plants appropiate for your conditions - if you want something hedgelike at all.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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Anita Martin wrote:What Lorinne suggests sounds logical. And I like Hugo's musing about a hedge.
I am curious why there are no bigger shrubs or trees on your property? Is this land relatively new, do you need to move the fencing around or anything else?

Planting a hedge would slow down winds (and thus minimize erosion), catch dew, provide habitat (for birds...) and nectar/pollen for the pollinators.
In the beginning you could plant sparsely and see what the birds "drop" to fill the gaps.

Probably you have to deal with very little water, but there might be some hardy plants appropiate for your conditions - if you want something hedgelike at all.



I'm in Wyoming. We don't have trees. It's the high plains. The mountains have trees. Every other tree you see is planted and maintained by man. This land wasn't meant for trees. I'm trying, I am really trying. I think it's the drying wind more than anything else that keeps trees from growing but our lack of water doesn't help!
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:Two thoughts come to mind...

Along the fence, as previously mention birds eating/carrying seed perch on fence and drop or poop. The fenceline would provide marginal shade, and the slats collect water during rain events that would drip down, creating a higher moisture content in the soil.

I do think you are on the right track with water - underground or surface - to that end I would be tempted to get one of those "moisture meters" used commonly for house plants, and measure the moisture in the soil.

I suspect it is likely as simple as marginally lower spots that collect moisture/runoff from rain, snow or even dew, creating a higher moisture level that is more likely to encourage germination. The growth along the road or path is likely the "low" side where precip would drain to/collect and/or where seed etc. would be deposited by prevailing wind

The curving shapes would, IMO, be the "edges" of puddles that form during precipitation events, flushing/collecting seed at the lowest point, along with other debris that would act as mulch. I would not be surprised if the middle of the curve matches the direction of the prevailing wind.



Our wind is pretty changeable but in the winter it is all from the west to east. Those )'s have their point facing the west.

I do like the ideas though. Possible. They aren't that close to the fence but it's possible.
 
Anita Martin
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elle sagenev wrote:
I'm in Wyoming. We don't have trees. It's the high plains. The mountains have trees. Every other tree you see is planted and maintained by man. This land wasn't meant for trees. I'm trying, I am really trying. I think it's the drying wind more than anything else that keeps trees from growing but our lack of water doesn't help!


Oof, that must be challenging. I guess it would not be the right place for me. I don't like wind (ok, I even hate it) and I love a lush vegetation, so you have my respect for settling there and making the best of it.
Good luck with getting some trees going!
 
pioneer
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On the roadside there is a huge amount of alfalfa around here it it blows off the hay that's hauled.Also In our field is some most likely spread by birds,and wild horses.Not sure what your population of wild horses is out there but anyway. I hear what your saying about growing trees.Here in Northern Arizona I have noticed the more drought hardy trees our Apricot,Navajo Peach,Mulberry,arizona walnut,Juglans Major,Navajo Willow,Russian Olive ,seaberry grows pretty well.grows like the plague around here.It seems like making a bowl and mulching helps a lot around here.We water once a week some trees make it some don't.I have some friends in Alamosa Colorado that have made windbreaks by weaving fences and strawbale walls.Document your successes on your trees it would be interesting to see.
 
pollinator
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kinda looks like old fairy rings. dig in the soil under one of those C shapes and see if there is white stuff. i've heard they can show up where there used to be trees/shrubs that were cut down -- looking at the pics i can imagine a windbreak used to be there
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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Abe Coley wrote:kinda looks like old fairy rings. dig in the soil under one of those C shapes and see if there is white stuff. i've heard they can show up where there used to be trees/shrubs that were cut down -- looking at the pics i can imagine a windbreak used to be there



I like the idea of a fairy ring but I can guarantee you there haven't been trees here, probably ever. You can still see the lines on google maps from the old wheat farming on our property. Wheat, wheat, wheat.
 
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