Erosion Problems and Solutions
Drought ravaged areas 1 & 2 have little rain water absorbing grasses or riparian plants. The ground is naked and water takes topsoil to creek. Too many huisache, black locust, cedar elms, red cedars and hackberries shade out the possibility of grasses and forbes. In area 3 the pasture has little rainwater absorbing ability. When rain falls in area 1 & 2 drought-stricken trees have little water absorbing leaves. Rain water collects in sheets inches deep over entire area and flows to creek. This flowing water starts as a minor erosion disturbance, enlarging small gullies into larger ones.
Forestry mowing area 1 & 2 understory, and thin out volumes of brush and small trees. Light reaches ground to stimulate grasses and forbes to grow. As they grow larger they absorb more rain water and slow the speed of water growing to creek. The chips from mowing falls to ground to form interlocking mulch which resist washing out. With mulch covering most areas logs and brush are utilized to fill minor erosion disturbance and gullies. Long trunks are place perpendicular to damn up and slow down rain water going to creek. Area 3 depends on helpful rain events to grow new grasses and forbes to absorb and slow rain water flowing to creek.
Farm road was washing out from sheet water flowing from area 1.
Farm road was relocated. Red Cedars and brush where drug and placed over eroding rode. Forestry mowed windrow pile into mulch surface. This acts as band aid until grass returns.
Protecting Valuable Trees from Wildfire
Brush and small trees in area 1 need separation between canopies to keep wild fire from burning all the trees. In area 2 and 3 (islands of very large live oaks) brush and small trees are used by wildfire to climb up into canopies of large trees which will ignite them. Separation is needed between their canopies to slow fire down.
Forestry mowing brush and small trees from under and between trees the air to fuel ratio is changed. A hot fire becomes cooler.
Protecting Valuable Trees from Drought
Problem: The volume of trees in area 1 and 2 plus the understory brush and small trees of are 2 and large tree islands in 3 presents an enormous need for water. The competition for water is extreme as the drought continues. Large trees need more water and have to expend more energy to pump it to their high canopies. All trees suffer. Big and little die.
Solution: Has already been accomplished through forestry mowing for erosion and wildfire protection. The competition is eliminated and turned into beneficial mulch which stabilizes the soil temperature, absorbs moisture, and protects from droughts and hot sun.
Poor Ratio of Habitat - Forage for Wildlife
Too much habitat and too little forage. Again forestry mowing for above has provided the solution for creating forage in a mostly habitat environment.
While accomplishing requirements for erosion, wildfire, and drought grasses, plants and trees that provide food for wildlife are left. Enlarging natural meadows and reclaiming others provide favorable environment for native grasses and the seeds that they produce for wildlife. Natural Texas recognized the need and evaluates as we selectively clear.
Benefits of Instant Accessibility & Visibility of Property
The brush is too thick and obscures everything from big trees, streams, interesting terrain features, to where a house or barn needs to be. As an Arborist since 1981 I have heard what clients wanted and interpreted it into reality. Each property is unique with its gifts. Discovering and matching land use for clients while preserving our native heritage by selectively clearing Texas Naturally. At Quebe Farms the goal was to restore prairie, reduce fire and drought effects, increase diversity of wildlife, create a good setting for bed and breakfast plus connect Charlotte with property so she fully enjoys it and share her joy with others.
It is not just about cutting down everything quickly and cheaply. It is about choices that bring the most good to the property and its owners. Stewardship and being recognized for it on the state level is an honor that Charlotte has provided Natural Texas to be a part of. I appreciate the plan Blake Eikenhorst and others in their input toward making Quebe Farm project successful. The solution is hard work and doing good in as many areas that can be done.