Riparian planting along the South Branch
The second site is located along
the South Branch of the Potomac River downstream of Romney, WV.
The stream was fenced in the late 1990s by the US Fish and Wildlife
Service Partners with Wildlife program. The landowners hoped
that substantial natural tree recruitment would occur at the site
over time, but it has not.
Native hardwood trees were
planted in April 2005 more or less on a 20' X 20' spacing, and shrubs and smaller
trees were planted on a 12' X 12' spacing. At the South Branch
site, half of the trees and shrubs were planted with tubes and half
without to assess relative success and survival.
On August 26, 2005, CI and NRCS staff conducted a
rapid assessment of the condition of this riparian planting.
This site has heavy "weed" growth that makes it difficult to find
the plantings, and no attempt was made to find all of the plants.
Preliminary results of "tube"
plantings. Trees totally encased in tubes had a reasonably
high survival rate (although not as high as at Yellow Spring),
generally lush leaf growth, and little damage from insects (and
obviously not browsing). Shrubs and small trees in tubes fared
somewhat better than the large trees, and nearly as well as at
Yellow Spring. Plants that were poking above the tops of tubes
(mostly shrubs and small trees in 2' tubes) had a high survival rate
with healthy leaves in the tubes and very poor leaves (if any) above
the tubes due to browsing and insect damage. 93% of the plants
susceptible to browsing were severely browsed (graph below left,
picture below right).