Eliminate gorse, no pesticides
This method needs to be followed accurately, after using it for years now, we are posting it here. Invasives cost much more than the amount you pay to remove them. Property value decreases but even worse, loss of coastal habitat equates to the loss of a lot of biodiversity and as pollinators are eliminated so are their services and the songbirds and other wildlife that consume insects. Herbicides not needed. We got creative with a different method of gorse elimination. Just as with the herbicide method, this method requires 2-4 years of committment to follow-up treatment but it does get easier every year. If you are not afraid to dedicate attention to the patch of ground being restored, please read on.
Wax myrtle, above arrow
1. Anything from an excavator to a pair of loppers can begin the process. If an excavator has been hired, an experienced operator can remove a great deal of both overburden of growth and root mass. Removal can be to an off-site location or the county waste disposal site, never composted on site as the seeds continue to drop and are viable for up to 80 years. Remove all root material/ Root-wads re-grow quite readily.
Likely, an excavator is not available and a root wad remains even after you cut all of the branches off and removed the over-burden away from the area you are reclaiming. If you can identify the trunk or the “crown” of each plant, that becomes the target to address with the next steps. The trunk needs to be cut to ground level or slightly below ground level.
Cut the Light
In this second photo of the recovered Wax Myrtle, cardboard, the 2-ply shipping box style, covers crowns, with 4-6 inches of wood mulch covering it. all around it will be planted with native shrubs and perennial flowers. Decomposers (life) in the soil will consume all plant materials. Cardboard pieces needs to overlap at
least 8 inches. Holes for plants will be dug right through this carboard and mulch application.
Gorse creates a monoculture over time and it can be overwhelming looking at a large area. If an area is too big to address all at once, the gorse can at least be slowed down in its’ regrowth. Besides cardboard, road fabric of the woven type, can be used. It is heavy duty and 12 feet wide and can be rolled out over the cut gorse to cover, at least 6 feet past the crowns. Pinning it with the large metal staples is optional. Cover with 4 – 6 inches of mulch. This will hold for several years, allows for tackling the restoration over time, in phases. It can also be left in place with a renewal of mulch as it breaks down.
Wax Myrtle, after gorse removal
Cardboard in place, mulched, ready for native plants.
Gorse, pulled and piled
Hydroseeding that meadow
HYDROSEEDING Another method of cutting the light, must be after mechanical or hand removal of all obvious root pieces that will regrow. This is the process: Fill a Hydroseeder tank with a mixture called “slurry” and then spreading that mixture over the target land, using high pressure. The slurry is a combination of seed, mulch, soil amendments, and water. The hydroseeder tank is mechanized to keep the slurry evenly mixed. The slurry hardens as it dries and becomes an ideal seed bed. Until it breaks down, it also “cuts the light”. The thick growth of new species also inhibits light needed for gorse seed to germinate.
This method can be used only in the appropriate timeline, one window in Fall and one window in Spring as determined by the operator doing the hydroseeding. Temperature of the soil and expected rainfall dictates application window. Ideally, germination will occur between 3 days and 3 weeks.
We used an all native seed mix for this meadow. It includes bunch grasses, juncus, perennials that return every year and the long-blooming annuals. Grasses were chosen for a low height that will only need one mowing in the summer.
GORSE SEEDLINGS Within 8-10 months of application, most of the near-surface gorse seed supply will have exhausted much of its germination potential. The amount of gorse germinating into seedlings will decrease greatly each year thereafter. There is a seed bank of gorse. Disturbance of the ground such as by digging, tilling, or erosion, can bring buried gorse seed closer to the surface and allow for further germination. Hand-plucking the seedlings as they emerge over the next few years is the key to finding success.
We will post updates of our projects here, as we learn more. Stay tuned.
Biodynamic propagation of plants, plugs and
seeds. Ready for your gardens, pollinators,
restorations, hedgerows, or rain gardens.