Monday, June 15, 2009

Time to tackle DSV

We got started on Dog Strangling Vine this week, one of the worst invasive species. First of all because it's just about everywhere and second, it's almost indestructible. Or so it seems. The only way to tackle it right now is to dig it out with all its roots. It's quite a job. The only other possibility is to use pesticides which is really not ideal for environmental reasons and can be quite costly because the plant is so spread out. So, we just do what we can and hope that one day, somebody will discover a bug that kills it.

After working for an hour, I managed to clear a small path.

We also did a survey of the plants and shrubs we planted the last couple of years on the meeting house slope. We are happy to report that most of the plants are in good condition.

The wood ducks are also back this year. This is a picture from last year, I couldn't get a good picture when I was there last week. I will have to try again.

We have some pretty nice views from the top of the slopes. It's worth to take a break and enjoy it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

On with the workplan

The garlic mustard is now more in control at Riverdale (at least for this year) so we can work on other invasives.

We came back after a week off to a ton of stinging nettle. It's pretty much everywhere.

The stewards are being very careful at protecting themselves and they were practically shovelling it out of the way.

The park is closed in the evening so we don't see people walking by but the creatures seem curious about what we're doing. Too bad we can't give them our brochures about the program.

We also started removing burdock which we have managed to keep in control over the past few years. I found several web sites discussing this plant and even though some of them praise the medicinal values of it, most agree that it can be highly invasive and even dangerous. The burs that it produces can damage the fur of animals brushing against it and they can also kill birds. This Ontario Wildflowers website has an interesting article about it.

The stems remind me of rhubarb.

Dog Strangling Vine (DSV) is also very friendly with burdock. We started removing some of the DSV, although it's still a bit early for that.

On one of the slopes at Riverdale, we also saw another invasive called Dame's rocket . According to Wikipedia, it is a herbaceous plant species in the mustard family and is cultivated in many areas of the world for it's attractive spring blooming flowers. However, as pretty as it is, it's a non native invasive. Luckily, we don't seem to have as many of it at Riverdale compared to other areas of the Don.

Dame's Rocket at the Goulding Wetland site.

Monday, June 1, 2009

No stewardship last week

There was supposed to be a thunderstorm last week so stewardship was cancelled even though the storm never materialized. While looking at my pictures from previous years, I found these which I took last year at the Beechwood Wetland site. I found them interesting at the time but I had forgotten about them. It's a good example of some of the weird stuff you can find in nature.

Look at the base of the tree stump. No, it's not a present left by some animal.

Here's a closer look. Can you start to see a shape?

Can you guess what it is?

It's called Dead Man's fingers. I'm not kidding. And no, we didn't find a dead body. Believe it or not, it's a fungus commonly found in forests and woodlands that grows at the base of rotten tree stumps. As you can see, it is appropriately named, though its latin name is Xylaria polymorpha.

It grows on decaying hardwood stumps and logs, usually at or near the base. It sometimes appears to come out of the ground but it is actually attached to buried wood and it grows alone or, more commonly in clusters, like the pictures you see here.

It's a bit creepy but fascinating at the same time.