Backyard Forest Restoration: New York Ferns and Concrete
I was able to find some New York Ferns online from a nursery in Tennessee. I bought bare roots for 8 ferns and planted them in mid May. It took about a month before they started to grow new fronds. 3 of the 8 I planted are definitely growing. The other 5 may or may not make it. The soil quality in the back of my property is poor in some spots. I'll keep watering the spots where I know I planted them. I'm hopeful I will see some growth this year or maybe next spring. If not, I'm happy that the New York fern project wasn't a complete bust.
My ostrich, Christmas, and sensitive ferns all survived the winter. I actually didn't think the sensitive fern was going to survive. The fronds on the sensitive fern seem to be stunted. They are nowhere near as large as the fronds I see on wild grown ones. I suspect that may be because of poor soil quality. There is still a lot of concrete mixed into the soil in that part of the yard. I might dig up that fern and replant it in the fall. I'll see if I can sift out the concrete from the soil too.
I'm still finding large chunks of concrete at the back of my property. Earlier in the year I removed a few 50lb chunks. I knew these were back there last year, but they were very close to my property line. I was not entirely sure they were on my property so I was hesitant to remove them. I don't think the other property owner was even aware of them. They were interfering with my project and I was tired of looking at them. After a year of fretting about it, I said "screw it" and got rid of them. There were also some partially buried chunks that I unearthed. I think I removed the largest pieces, but I won't be surprised if I find more large chunks next year after the plant cover dies back.
The oak seedlings from last year survived the winter also, but they look rough right now. It looks like insects have been eating the leaves. 2 of the 3 seedlings leafed out later than the other one too. Unfortunately, one of the ones I thought was dead did sprout leaves, but it sprouted them after I moved the cage I had around it. I moved the cage to a new seedling, but that seedling was destroyed too. It almost looks like someone pulled the seedling out of the ground. Maybe a rabbit got to it? I have no idea. I founds a few other new seedlings that look promising, so I will move the cage to one of those soon.
Last fall, I raked and blew all of the leaves in my backyard to the area I'm trying to restore. I have had mixed results. The leaves didn't choke out the grasses and weeds as much as I hoped they would. There are definitely spots where the leaves are still present, but most of them disintegrated. There is creeping charlie, creeping jenny, and grass in most of the places that were covered pretty thickly with leaves last fall. I'll keep at it and do the same thing this fall.
We had a severe wind storm last November that knocked down a quite a few trees in my neighborhood. A large portion of our neighbors dead ash tree fell on our property. I'm letting it stay as is. I'm hoping we'll get some interesting fungus growing on it.
I'm going to plant some Jack in the pulpit seeds this fall. They are native to this area and have an interesting flower. There's a small patch of undeveloped woodland near a community garden around the corner from my house. It is full of them. I would also like to plant some mayapples, but I will probably need to find someone online that sells bare roots. Nobody has seeds for them.
The restoration is happening slowly and I will need to correct some mistakes I made last year. I'm happy with the progress I've seen so far.