A quick recap from our last post… Clients of ours recently purchased a historic farm with a 5.5 acre pond adjacent to the house. Unfortunately volunteer Cedars and invasive vines, Ailanthus, and Autumn Olive had encroached to the point where our clients couldn’t see the pond from their house, or easily access the water. Our clients and their architects wanted clear views from the house & pool, as well as easy access for their young family to swim, fish, and boat in the lake.
Before starting the project we had to determine if the area could be easily maintained after clearing. After all, there’s no point in starting a major project if it won’t stand the test of time. Working from the FSA historical aerial database we located images showing what the farm looked like from 1957 to present. Below is a 1974 aerial showing the pond 15 years after it was constructed. Note that the areas around the pond are all clear and maintained. This image, combined with walking the site, left us comfortable that after some minor re-grading the area could be regularly maintained with a tractor and bush hog.
Once our objective was clearly defined we needed an action & follow up plan. Given the site conditions – 6+ acres of potential clearing area, steep slopes, perennials water sources – we decided the project should be done in phases. We’d clear a portion of the acreage, then re-grade and prep the site while we burned the cleared material. Immediately follow that we’d stabilize the area with seed and straw (our clients’ end goal is a mixture of grasses, and later on, specimen hardwood and ornamental trees).
Below is a picture that shows the project at the halfway point. Work on one side of the pond has been completed and stabilized, while the other side is in-progress. Cleared material has been staged so we can burn efficiently, and as much ground as possible has been prepped for seed/straw. Because of the time of year we are stabilizing with winter rye, and will reseed in the spring with fescue.
Check back as this project continues to move forward, and for before / after photos once the project is completed and passes through a full growing season.