Posting images from our 6 acre field that we had cleared almost 2 years ago. We have been just observing what has grown and post pictures here. The soil is silty sandy, underlaid by sand and a shallow aquifer (around 25 foot deep). We want to identify the weeds that have come in and will be planting cover crops (likely a rye, clover, field oat mix) in the spring and are working to grub out pricker bushes, fortunately not too difficult due to the lack of rocks.
Each “weed” is identified by a number. I can provide additional images if requested during the next few days or next spring. I’ve left these large to facilitate the ID, so sorry for any slow loading.
In answer to Todd Parr, we are in Upstate NY on cusp of zone 5a-5b (trending towards 5b)
Bryant Redhawk, I was hoping you would respond and am hoping to gain assistance improving our soil going forward.
For Joseph Lofthouse; nothing has been planted yet on the land, so what is there will be there until the spring in order to hold the soil in the meantime.
Some back story, the 6 acre field was last cultivated in the 1960’s and produced crops of corn and/or hay at that time by farmers renting the land. High resolution aerial photos online from 1948 show the field as having been cleared. By the 1970’s a young forest had taken over except for about an acre that was still cleared and mowed. Grass does well here on the silty/sandy soil. The decision to clear the field stems from a desire to convert the acreage and surrounding woods to agriculture both from personal objectives and property tax implications. We tried to recruit local farmers to prepare the field, but the only interest was in cropping using glyphosate resistant corn. We offered to subsidize an organic effort, defraying any subsequent losses by the farmers, but were rejected outright w/ the insistence that it was GMO or go home. The current plan is to brushhog the field in the spring and then go over the soil with a skidsteer w/ a harley rake we can rent and plant a mix of rye, field oats & Dutch clover.
Part of our concern is the shallow aquifer that exists under the entire property and which provides our 25’ Dug well water (extremely good water). Deep drilled wells in the area often provide sulfurous water requiring additional treatment. In two ravines w/ year round streams that bisect the 80 acres evidence of weeps are everywhere with water flowing out. In one ravine I found a weep down the steep hill that that drains into a boggy area, the re-emerges farther down the hill to again soak into the hill finally emerging into the boggy flat adjacent to the stream cutting through the 50’ deep valley. Additionally there are a number of vernal woodland ponds that show evidence of trenching to drain them, 80 years ago judging from a tree growing in one trench. The ponds are now dry, but contained water and a plethora of frogs and salamanders last spring, despite having been mostly dry on the surface due to the mild drought over the last 3 years or so. Prior to that when we were getting the normal monthly rain and snow the ponds always had 10” of water in them. We look at the shallow aquifer as a precious resource, easily accessible due to the ease of extraction, but easily polluted, hence our concern for applying chemicals to the land.
The process of logging left the field has a variegated surface. In some areas the surface has darker soil (for example the area w/ the #1 & #2 grasses
), in others it is more sandy, presumably due to disturbance bringing underlying sand to the surface. The center has several inches of wood chips and sticks left by the chipping process.
The soil type is according to the USDA soil map Oakville described as follows:
Map Unit Composition
* Oakville and similar soils: 70 percent
* Minor components: 30 percent
* Estimates are based on observations, descriptions, and transects of the mapunit.
Description of Oakville
* H1 - 0 to 7 inches: loamy fine sand
* H2 - 7 to 37 inches: loamy fine sand
* H3 - 37 to 90 inches: loamy fine sand
Properties and qualities
* Slope: 3 to 8 percent
* Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
* Natural drainage class: Well drained
* Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): High to very high (5.95 to 19.98 in/hr)
* Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
* Frequency of flooding: None
* Frequency of ponding: None
* Available water storage in profile: Low (about 4.5 inches)