Back in the day before the white man came to this area of Arizona desert along the lower Colorado River, the river was controlled by Mother Nature, had yearly floods, and was lined with cottonwood and willow trees. That isn’t the way it is today. With the advent of steamboats, and later dams, the cottonwood and willow forests disappeared.
One of the objectives of this refuge is to restore some of that riparian habitat. A little over 2000 cottonwood and willow seedlings arrived in these big boxes yesterday. That meant they had to be planted pretty quickly.
I was able to escape the VC long enough yesterday afternoon to document the first part of this restoration. Over 1000 cottonwood seedlings were in this huge crate.
A field had been prepared for planting. So, how do you plant 2000 tree seedlings quickly? I’m going to show you.
See those two seats behind the tractor? Two people sit in those seats and drop the seedlings one at a time down under them. Flats of the two kinds of seedlings are on the sides of each of the seats.
As the tractor slowly moves along, other attachments dig a trough, then after the seedling is dropped, cover the roots with dirt. The smaller vehicle on the left follows behind with additional seedlings.
When needed, the staff member in the green vehicle jumps out and makes sure each seedling is seated in the dirt properly.
The ‘planters’ behind the tractor were fellow volunteers Norma and Doug. Seems they’re enjoying their work! I was jealous. Sure beats working the VC in my book.
And driving the tractor? None other than fellow volunteer Chef Jay!
At the end of each row, the planter platform is lifted up, and Norma and Doug climbed out. This puzzled me. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t just ride back to the beginning of the next row. Turns out they tried that the first time, but because the tractor travels much faster back to the beginning, they were choking in the dust. So, at the end of each row they got out and walked back.
This is what each planted seedling looks like. I think it is a much better method than using a shovel to dig each hole to plant a tree.
Ten rows of 61 seedlings each were planted yesterday afternoon. That’s 610 possible trees. A checkerboard pattern was designed by the Wildlife Specialist, Vance, for the plantings. So there will be a more natural diversity in the woodlot. Today, an additional 20 rows were planted, and the plot is done. I’ll be long gone before this woodland comes to maturation, but I’m glad I could be a small part of the goings on. I wish I could have been out there helping rather than just recording, but at least one female got to do something outside of the VC for a change on this refuge.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy