Taking back the forest

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I waded across the creek running through the forest near my house in order to plant some Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed) and Verbesina alternifolia (Wingstem) in the hopes that they will help crowd out some of the Japanese Stilt Grass that's taking over.

This 4-legged native plant eating machine was, like all deer around here, not in the least bit afraid of me. She stayed on the opposite bank, no doubt searching for the yummy natives growing from seeds I sowed!

I hadn't been over there for awhile, so it was fun exploring and looking for native plants that are hanging in there. I was thrilled to find that not only have the Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo bush) I planted a year ago survived, they're thriving! This one has sent out runners 4-5 feet away. I can't wait to see them in bloom http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/243947/

I spotted multiple groups of this plant with the reddish leaves, and I think it could be growing from seeds I sowed. Maybe Monarda?

#4 is, I believe, Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon's Seal).

#5 is Amphicarpaea bracteata (Hog Peanut). It's supposed to compete well with Japanese Stiltgrass. It seems to be winning the battle here! I just learned that it's a host plant for the Silver Spotted Skipper, Long Tailed Skipper and the Gray Hairstreak. http://www.restoringthelandscape.com/2011/02/native-plant-of-week-hog-peanut-vine.html

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Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

It does look like Solomon's Seal.

I have Jewelweed along my back fence and love it. It's quite prolific here but that suits me just fine. I love that it supports the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds ... and crowds out weeds.

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(Zone 5a)

I am not familiar with the plants, but we have our own four-legged native plant eating machines. Only smaller- rabbits. I do not want to chicken wire everything and in fact we set our first native patch free this year. It's our first year having trouble with rabbits, they like cabbage, too.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I love Jewelweed too! I have an area in my own yard that has killer conditions...deep shade and wet, compacted soil. Almost nothing will grow there, but Jewelweed does. It doesn't self-seed much in that particular area, either. The Jewelweed I have in a sunnier area does self-seed like mad, but I've been using the seedlings to populate the forest and other areas in my yard.

You reminded me, Chillybean, I have to go put rabbit repellent around the very few plants in my yard that rabbits eat: Liatris spicata, Virginia Sweetspire and one NOID fern.

I wonder whether my dirt cheap, homemade deer repellent would work with rabbits?
One egg yolk, one tablespoon baking powder and one quart water, mixed together and sprayed on foliage. It works as well as any commercial deer repellent and lasts longer because the egg yolk makes the baking powder stick to the leaves. The only down side is that leaves get a whitish coating. I've been using both granular repellents around my plants, but think I'll try the spray too.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Actually, I think the repellent might work with rabbits too. I forgot that I have sprayed my "deer candy" with it a few times this year, and they haven't nibbled on them.
They look much better! They were half eaten last year.

Our rabbit population is kept in check by our fox population. There have been coyote sightings too.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Coyotes in Tx- and deer are being sighted a lot. They are coming out of the bottoms where high water is, that and the cooler weather allows them to roam more.

(Zone 5a)

I've wanted Jewelweed, but I just cannot count on the moisture needed. I am risking it with the Queen of the Prairie, Bottlebrush Sedge and Sweet Indian Plantain. I've got collected rain water right now to help them along, but not sure how they'll do late in the summer. Last year we had a lot of July and August rains, which caused my wet loving plants to thrive.

I planted extra cabbage this year, so that should be fine, but it's the fact they like my newly planted Canada Anemone. :( I put bloodmeal around those and the native clematis.

I'll have to try that concoction. Maybe that is what is happening to my Prairie Blazingstars. The old ones came back up, but the ones planted last year are no where in sight.

Talking about animals not being afraid of you. It has been amazing lately how much the birds are getting acclimated to us. I've been mere feet from Red-wings, Robins, Woodpeckers and to even be in the same area as a feeding Meadowlark is amazing!

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Yes, rabbits definitely ate my Liatris. I know because deer can't get into the backyard where they are. I had a terrible time keeping them alive last year, but they're looking good so far this year.

It's neat that the birds are hanging out with you! A Mockingbird starts "mewing" whenever I'm digging in the garden because it like the freshly turned-over soil. Last year one was looking for worms 3 feet from where I was, so I tossed it a few. This year it just sits in a tree and mews until I leave.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Muddy, I have baby dogwood trees galore. Shall I be potting /saving and growing them on for you?

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

If you have time to start 2, I won't say no, but please don't go to any trouble! You did a great job with that baby Redbud. I up-potted it and might not take it to the woods until the fall.

We planted dogwood seedlings in the forest 2 years ago, but they haven't grown much. The ground might be too rocky and/or whoever planted them (I had helpers) might not have dug down very far. I'm going to try to get out there with some Holly Tone tomorrow. I have more Wingstem, Jewelweed and other things to plant too.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I wish there was a college student (read young muscles and energy!!!) to help you and do a study of what works best for the amount of effort you put in. But that would take years to show results.

I'm just recalling reading about reforestation in desert? areas. In this article, they talked about high failure in planting trees They/somebody designed a concrete bowl of sorts with a hole in the center. the idea being that they stick a seed in the hole and the dish collects rain and shades the soil to get the seed started. So it was lots cheaper to start each one. No, don't ask me who goes back and cracks the dish when the tree gets big enough, lol. Not the same factors here for you, but I wish we could think of ways to make your hard work more sure of success.


Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Great minds think alike! I was just thinking to myself this morning as I returned from watering the Jewelweed and Wingstem that perhaps someone living in the area might want to spend a few hours testing their chain saw by cutting down Japanese Honeysuckle and Burning Bush ; - )
or just pull non-natives for awhile.

Wishful thinking, I know, but if anyone wants to help, I will welcome your DMail. This is Homeowners Association owned land and the HOA is behind this restoration project. They have said they would solicit help from scouts and teens needing service hours, but I'm not sure they have done so.

I took some more photos of native plants hanging in there that I'll post later.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I found this yellow flower in the forest today and have tentatively ID'ed it as a Lysimachia tonsa (Southern Loosestrife)....a U.S. native!!!

I didn't have my glasses with me and so didn't notice that the flowers were facing downwards : )

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Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

In your photos I see delicate fringes on the flower petals, hairs on the petioles, nodding flowers and broad leaves. I think it is Lysimachia ciliata, Fringed Loosestrife.

(Zone 5a)

Very nice plant, Muddy. I am not sure I would have noticed with my glasses the flowers were face down . :) I had to double check your photo.

I planted two Tufted Loosestrife (Lysimachia thyrsiflora) in my rain garden. When I checked on the area after a good rain yesterday, there was standing water... yay! I was getting tired of hauling rain water back there.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Greenthumb and Chillybean!
Here's the second of 2 mystery plants. I posted the photos on the Plant ID Forum yesterday; so far no one has chimed in: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1397847/

(Zone 5a)

I looked at it and am clueless at first glance.

At times, they seem to answer quickly and others seem ignored. I have some unsolved and now are buried. I know some local people who are familiar with plants, but do not always want to bother them.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Muddy, asked some clarifying questions on your second mystery plant on the thread you give the link to.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I don't see your questions; perhaps your post didn't load?

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

They are there now.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks, greenthumb.

I see quite a lot of this vining plant in the forest. I think it might be Campsis radicans; can anyone confirm?

If so, that would be great; apparently Campsis radicans would stand a good chance of smothering the non-natives.

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Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Sure looks like it. Spent an hour two days ago cutting this back on another property. Stands a good chance of smothering non-natives and natives alike. Very aggressive when happy.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

It should be okay to let it grow up a mature tree, shouldn't it? I can also try to train some to grow on a fallen tree trunk....and on non-native shrubs that would be difficult for me to remove although I probably could cut them at the base...I like the possibilities!

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Vine, not a tree. Don't know how well one can "train' it, it does pretty much what ever it wants (everywhere). Useful for sequestering enchanted sleeping princesses in their castles.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Ha ha ha!!!
I meant to ask whether I could safely let it grow up a tree trunk without its killing the tree. I know that non-native vines can strangle and kill trees, but I've heard that native vines can co-exist with mature trees..

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Yes, Campsis radicans would be fine to grow on a tree in your forest.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Phew! Thanks VV, because its popping up all over.

Sally was kind enough to point out the non-native vines growing in that clearing, including Celastrus orbiculatus, so the last time I was there I removed a non-native vine that had started growing up a tree.

I'm going to try to guide the Campsis radicans onto trees or non-native shrubs to the extent possible but, if it swallows everything in its path, I'm going to accept that as nature's way of saying that anything native is better than Japanese Stiltgrass.

(Zone 5a)

Hopefully, I will be getting some Campsis radicans this weekend. The plan is to let it go wild over the south yard fence. (I have Queen of the Prairie, Joe Pye Weed and Sweet Indian Plantain growing near one section) and I want to see if the hummingbirds will come. They are ignoring my Columbine.

The one time I saw Campsis radicans near here, it looked like a farmer chopped it down as it was gone the next time I drove by there.

I hope your venture proves a success, muddy1. :)

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I hope it works!
I haven't seen a single hummingbird this year in my yard, even though I have Lonicera sempervirens (Coral Honeysuckle vine) and Monarda.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I strolled down to the swampy part of the creek today to see whether anything had come of the Milkweed seeds I had thrown over the bridge last year, but I didn't see a single Milkweed flower.

I did, however, see lots of U.S. native plants! Last year, this area was covered in Japanese Stilt Grass. I don't know what happened to it, but I was so glad not to see a sea of it.

1 - Peltandra virginica (Arrow Arum)

2 - Impatiens capensis (Jewel Weed), Amphicarpaea bracteata (Hog Peanut Vine) and a grass I haven't ID'ed yet

3 - I think the large plant is Symplocarpus foetidus (Skunk Cabbage). There's some Hog Peanut Vine growing around and over it.

4 and 5 - I think this could be Galium circaezans (Wild Licorice). This wasn't in the swamp; it was a bit upland in the forest.


This message was edited Jun 20, 2015 11:13 PM

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

wow, nice. I agree on skunk cabbage and Galium id
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/woodland/plants/wild_licorice.htm

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Your grass in #2 may actually be a Sedge (Carex sp.) of some sort.

Check flowering/seed head and cross section of stem; Sedges have edges...many times triangular rather than flat.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

It was really a sight for sore eyes. I thought I had photographed the giant ferns as well, but I couldn't have ID'ed them from that distance anyway. I'm going to try to get to that area today, although it might be too swampy. I want to plop down some tiny Lobelia seedlings and see if any Japanese Stilt Grass down there has the disease that kills it so that I can spread it around.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I'm sure you're right. I'll get a good photo. I'm trying to document every native growing in the forest, hence the photos.

One thing that has been very frustrating, though: As soon as I clear Stilt Grass away from a native plant so that I can get a photo, such as I did for the Solomon's Seal above, deer spot it and eat it. I never thought I could muster up a single good thing to say about Stilt Grass, but it does hide the natives from those insatiable deer, which eat plants growing in the forest that they wouldn't touch in someone's garden.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

If it wasn't too swampy yesterday it probably is today

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

It was pretty mucky, but I went down there anyway, planted some seedlings and got this photo of the Sedge. I haven't tried to ID it yet.

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Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Great image, Muddy1.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks! After looking at some ID possibilities, I realize I should have added this one as well.

It reminds me of Cyperus pseudovegetus (Marsh Flatsedge), but I'm not sure that's what it is.
http://www.southeasternflora.com/view_flora.asp?plantid=1017#

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Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Agree that 4 & 5 are Galium circaezans.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

They don't look like the skunk cabbage and wild licorice here, but I assume that is the difference between Colorado and Virginia species. I will try and remember to get some pics.

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