My recommendation: bring in a pig and some chickens. A pig can clear about 250 square feet in a summer. So four pigs could till about 1000 square feet. Using animals is a win win situation for you and them. They get a free buffet of wild edibles, insects and rodents (if present). You get an edible work force/auto fertilising system.
In many environments, the natural progression is from grassland toward savanna and possibly onward to forest. If this were my project, in those outer areas that I wanted to start transitioning while I worked on other things, I would pick some of the pioneer type plants I wanted to use to shift the area away from grasslands and do one square foot plantings of these pioneers, say on a 20 foot grid. And then go back to the higher priority areas and let those plantings go about their business while I focused on the other projects.
Karl Trepka wrote:
recommend robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) as a tree. only down side are the thorns
O. Donnelly wrote:
Or you could treat localized "stations" - amend and sheet mulch "oasis" in the sea of grass. You'd have to figure out the right size and spacing but for easy math let's say 5x6' stations (which is very small) - 30 sq feet, roughly 1/3 of a yard of material per station, 30 stations per dump truck load if you do it all at once (The hard way). Or every time you mow the field you use a bag on the mower and use the cuttings to build stations a few at a time (the easier way). This scenario will still require a lot of maintenance keeping the sea of grass from taking over your stations.
O. Donnelly wrote:I'm not quite following the part about seeding on top of the mulch. If you've put down enough cardboard, straw and woodchips to smoother the grass, it seemed like it would be too thick for seed to germinate and take root. Maybe I'm missing something obvious. Apologies if that's the case.
What about transplanting seedlings in holes in the mulch? You could pretty easily grow out hundreds of plugs each spring. Could have a nice mix of perennial flowering shrubs and herbs.