Joshua Hoesly

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since Mar 11, 2019
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fungi trees
Young man working a day job as a habitat restoration technician. Family just bought 4 hectares of clearcut near the Lewis River. Real interested in developing methods of making small forest lots in Cascadia more economically and ecologically diverse. I know a lot about native plants and noxious weeds... and herbicide.
Washington State, USA
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Recent posts by Joshua Hoesly

ashley bee wrote:
The only worrisome thing about the land right now is the sheer volume of dead trees, it seems that every day another one has toppled and I worry someday a person will be injured. I went out when there was no wind blowing and intentionally/proactively pushed a few more leaning ones down. I definitely feel the need to learn more forest management.


This is a real thing to be aware of. I generally wear a hard hat anytime I'm working under a canopy just out of habit,  they also make good rain and sun hats :). You can't really eliminate the risk but you can pay attention to your surroundings. Sick looking trees with fungal or insect infestation are more likely to break. So are red alder and black cottonwood.  Look up occasionally to check for hanging dead branches,  these are called widowmakers. Impractical to remove them but make a note of them,  perhaps flag the tree.  Branches break more often when they've snow weighting them down. Don't work under a canopy while it's windy. Try to have someone else with you or at least nearby. Make and carry a first aid kit.

The woods actually are somewhat dangerous but there's pretty simple things to reduce your risk,  don't let the fear keep you from living.

You ought to post that blackberry you saw for an ID. We have quite a few native species of rubus, the evergreen and Himalayan are noxious weeds that I'm sure you've noticed fight back. Luckily they're not horribly difficult to get rid of with a little elbow grease. Shade,  mowing,  and digging the roots out are all very effective. It's worth the effort in the long run if you're methodical, especially since that forest looks pretty intact.

I highly recommend you buy "native plants of the Pacific northwest coast" aka "the pojar". It's a really good book for beginners since it's easy to use with lots of pictures,  but is also pretty dense with a broad scope of information on each plant. It's a lot of fun (when it's not winter twigs) to practice looking up plants you don't know. Having a name for each one really helps you notice it more often and begin learning each one's personality. After you're addicted to plant ID you get so good at it that you start to do double takes when you don't recognize something.
3 months ago
Hey Daron,
Sorry to bump an old thread but I just became interested in this topic. I sent you a message but figured I'd post in the thread as well. My family just bought 10 acres of recently clearcut land that was mostly replanted with doug fir on a ~12ft spacing. Been thinking about planting something more useful than the himalayan blackberry/ ilex aquifolium/ digitalis/ verbascus mixture that seems to fill most of the space in between. Red Alder (Alnus rubra) is a good tree but perhaps not the best for this application since it would probably suppress the doug fir and create an overly dense stand. I was looking into Sitka Alder (Alnus viridus spp. sinuata) as a shrubby alternative. Apparently it also has moderate shade tolerance unlike Alnus rubra. The thing is, it's normally found at higher elevations than most people do their thing. I do know that the tree seed transfer zones generally shrink in area the higher elevation you go. Then I came across a publication by the NRCS Plant Material Center out of Corvallis on a specific population of Sitka Alder they found growing at ~200ft elevation in the Columbia River Gorge. They performed trials on it and a few dozen other populations 20-30 years ago, selected this one for its good performance, and dubbed it the "Skamania Germplasm". Apparently for some time they maintained a seed orchard available to growers, intending the plant to be used mainly for habitat restoration projects and companion planting on tree plantations. My mind immediately jumped to permaculture and how we don't really have a lot of native N-fixing shrubs here in the lowland coastal northwest.  

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A few weeks ago I called the WACD PMC in Bow, Fourth Corner Nurseries in Bellingham, and a handful of conservation districts. Nobody had heard of it. I emailed the NRCS asking if they knew anyone growing it. They didn't.They also don't maintain a collection of seed anymore. I plan on probing the esoteric history of this plant further and seeing if there are any forgotten experiments with it that we might learn from. They did offer to go out and collect some seed next October, asking how much I wanted. I think I'm gonna try and convince them to let me go out with them and put in some of the legwork since it's out near my family's place anyways. Would anyone else be interested in some seeds or seedlings of this and testing it out? It probably wouldn't be very much extra work to gather significantly more than what I need. If I'm gonna put in this much effort I'd like to share what I could and see what others can make of it. I do know the seeds don't store very well unless under very controlled conditions so this would have to be coordinated ahead of time.

You could probably get fine results from any Sitka Alder you brought down out of the hills, but I figure if I'm gonna germinate and transplant a few thousand by myself I might as well do my best to build on the heavy lifting evolution has already done. I'll probably make a standalone post about this in the plant breeding/ seed swapping forum too.
3 months ago