Our farm has a 4.5 acre semi-wooded area between a ridge and property boundary that has been overgrown with invasive species. We had been planning to remove the invasives and establish silvopasture but a week after marking trees for removal, a violent storm uprooted about half the trees for us, accelerating our timeline.
We are currently in the beginning stages of using swine to clear the invasives and after their work, we plan to seed pasture. In this project, we propose evaluating how well pasture will grow in this semi-wooded environment and how well it will suppress invasive regrowth. We will compare samples in the main pig-disturbed and broadcast-seeded areas with samples from adjacent areas that are undisturbed and left unseeded, undisturbed and overseeded with the same pasture mix, and disturbed but left to regrow from the seed bank. We will also give a cursory evaluation of the time of year best suited for this pig-and-then-pasture disturbance by comparing the next-season pasture quality and invasive species prevalence of paddocks disturbed and seeded at different times of year.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Assess the quality of pasture before disturbance, after disturbance, and the season after seeding (including in control areas).
- Evaluate the presence of invasive plants before disturbance, after disturbance, and the season after seeding (including in control areas).
- Assess the effectiveness of disturbance by comparing data from test areas to data from control
- Compare quality of pasture and presence of invasives across disturbance/seeding times, to determine the best time of year to use this method of invasive
- Share findings through field days, citizen science events, and social