Eighteen enthusiastic volunteers from SUNY-Fredonia and the Nature Sanctuary Society of Western New York visited the Alexander Preserve in Zoar Valley on April 25th to remove several invasive species within the Preserve in honor of Earth Week. Target species of choice for removal were daylily and bush honeysuckle. Daylily is currently limited to a slowly expanding linear patch along the road just before the trail that leads to the bottomland portion of the Preserve. At first glance, removing the daylily by hand with 18 people seemed possible, but the wet clay soils hampered our ability to separate the tuberous roots from the substrate and it was slow going. Some progress was made but we are re-thinking our strategy and making plans to return, perhaps to try another method. In the photos below, you can see a few trout lilies managing to flower among the daylilies.
Young bush honeysuckles are present in scattered patches throughout portions of the Preserve and these we simply pulled by hand. It was somewhat gratifying (though with mixed emotions) to view the private property on the opposite side of the Cattaragus River, which has not been managed for invasive species, and realize the difference that vigilance in removing bush honeysuckle makes.
Rewards for the day included sightings of Frasera caroliniensis rosettes just emerging, bluebells beginning to flower, emerging garlic leeks, and flowering spicebush. The landscape is undergoing a period of massive subsidence and several trees has split right up the trunk as a result of competing forces. Quite an amazing landscape indeed.