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Installing and Maintaining Landscapes

Proper installation and maintenance of the ecologically designed landscape begins a pattern in which each component in the landscape supports the others. Ecological methods can save you time, resources, and money by keeping water and organic material on site and by utilizing organic soil amendments and chemical interventions only when testing shows they are necessary.

Forest Savers LLC from Woodstock, Vermont uses a custom-built tractor to uproot and shred invasive shrubs at the Oyster River Forest in Durham, NH as part of a 60-acre restoration project to restore a healthy native plant community to benefit pollinators, songbirds, and the state-endangered New England cottontail. 

Reducing Invasive Plants and Recovering a Healthy Plant Community

By Ellen Snyder

In southeastern New Hampshire, where I work with landowners and communities on land stewardship, managing invasive plants is a constant struggle. As the Land Stewardship Coordinator for the Town of Durham, I’m guiding three restoration projects on town conservation land. It was hard not to be overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of invasive plants on all three properties. To avoid invasive paralysis, I keep my focus on the goal: restoration of a place to a mostly self-sustaining, healthy plant community.  The reward is a restored landscape brimming with native plants and native beneficial insects. 

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 In this second year of growth, the Education Building begins to feel grounded in a verdant landscape. Photo by Jamie Purinton 
 

Let it Rain

by Jamie Purinton &  Marc Wolf

Mountain Top Arboretum was designed to mimic and compliment the wondrous native plant communities of New York’s Catskill Mountains. Habitats such as wet meadows and seeps, woodland edges, and bedrock alpine communities completely guided the style and content of the plantings and the stonework. Teamwork combining design, planting, stormwater management, and a focus on educating the public culminated in a landscape that can be resilient through all types of weather. 

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 From left: A garden of anise hyssop, little bluestem, sneezeweed, boneset in front of smooth hydrangea. 

Lessons Learned on A Native Plant Journey

By Cathy Weston

A visit to  Cape Cod brings us to a  2-acre fallow farmland property where the homeowner/gardener has spent years cutting back invasive plants to return the land from an Old Field habitat to a Coastal Woodland.  The amount of effort to remove and keep invasives at bay could seem a daunting task, but this homeowner persevered and with trial and error created a beautiful ecological habit for both herself and the wildlife her property now calls home. 

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A blue heron in the wetlands as they appear today. Photo by Pam Morris Olshefski. 

Restoring the Wetlands of Morris Arboretum

by Eloise Gayer

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is well known for its abundance of mature trees and horticultural displays. In 2001 the Arboretum began the restoration of a drained wetland that would not only serve as a blueprint for other wetland restoration projects but also create more educational opportunities for the entire community. Learn about the history of this wetland, that was farmland at the turn of the century then one hundred years later was reverted back into a natural wetland.

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Spread Plant Love, Not Mulch

by Missy Fabel

It’s easy to be beguiled by the fresh look and scent of newly spread mulch. Yet for the ecologically minded, the spread of native groundcovers by rhizome, stolon, or seed introduces both functionality and a particular aesthetic into the landscape as plants fill cover soil by virtue of their growth habits and reproductive strategies.

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Eco-Answers from the Pros: How Clean Should Fall Cleanup Be?

As I begin fall cleanup in my gardens, what are your recommendations? Should I clean beds off, cutting foliage and remaining seed heads off? Are there some plants best cut off and others that are good to leave until spring? Also, should I remove leaves entirely from the ground around plants? I didn’t get all the leaves removed from beds last year and had a lot of damage to plant roots from either voles or moles.

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Eco-Answers from the Pros: What Should I Do with Leaves?

I am a groundskeeper who is trying to manage my grounds in a more ecological manner. I currently mulch (chop into tiny bits with the lawnmower) my leaves and leave the mulch on the lawn. I’m wondering would it be better for me to leave the leaves whole and let them blow around where they may. Or perhaps collecting them and dumping them into nearby non-lawn naturalized areas? Any insight you can provide is very helpful.

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