Control work (treatment) is where the plan gets put into action (implementation). Site priorities, coming from the vision, dictate the actions on the ground, and treatment work generally breaks the plant community into three sub-categories: the heavy seed propagators, the shrubs and vines, and species pursuing vegetative reproduction (rhizomal). Regardless of category, treatment work typically spans a period of years, and Year Two is often the most demanding. With the impact on the mature plants (typically removal), the increased sunlight can bring about a real burst from the seeds in the soil. Small emergent plants are often difficult to detect, so the seed-bank burst and re-sprout activity often becomes most evident in years two and three.
Since chemicals are not employed in treatment work, there are no restrictions limiting access to a work site. Safety during treatments is paramount, so the obvious precautions with chainsaws and brush saws always apply, but safety often involves more subtle considerations. I review these tips with clients prior to any control work.
Treatment work is intended to move a landscape closer to its “desired future condition.” Sites invaded by non-native plants are typically impacted or disturbed locations, and the colonization often indicates an underlying problem. It has been said by more than one wise person that focusing strictly on certain plant populations tends to treat the symptoms rather than the disease itself. Knowing this, the approach at Got Weeds? seeks to encourage overall site rehabilitation through re-planting with natives, build-up of organic matter in the soil, and encouragement of species diversity.
On the issue of site re-vegetation, it is never too early to begin that work. I begin planting desired native trees and shrubs during the first season of treatment, and that effort carries through follow-on years. Continue on to Training.