Thanks Brandt!

Brandt at Sam Houston National Forest, Blackland PrairieHNPAT would like to thank Brandt Mannchen of the Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club for his contributions in removing non-native invasive plants and woody plants from prairies. Brandt and his friends frequently spend a few hours removing these prairie “weeds” from not only Deer Park Prairie, but also, Sam Houston National Forest – Blackland Prairie; Nash Prairie; and on first Saturdays, Marysee Prairie in East Texas. Here are some of Brandt’s recent reports concerning DPP:

Saturday, September 19, 2015
I spent 2.5 hours at Deer Park Prairie today cutting woody plants.  Most of the plants that I cut, in the middle thicket on the north side of the prairie (the same thicket that David Boyd and I worked on several weeks ago) were non-native plant species.  This thicket has been cleared of about 67% of the understory.  As I mentioned previously, after the understory is cleared a chainsaw will be needed to cut down the large non-native trees.

I did not walk through Deer Park Prairie to look at blooming plants but I did notice Gerardia, Goldenrod, Gallardia aestivalis, and Texas Vervain (I think)

Saturday, August 29, 2015
…a summary of what was done today at Deer Park Prairie with Houston Sierra Club volunteers.  I worked from about 8:30 am to 11:00 am and David Boyd worked from about 9:30 am to 11:00 am. I first worked at the large pine tree that is farthest west on the north side of the property.  Keeping in mind what you said about not cutting native trees or shrubs, I cut down a Chinese Tallow at this pine tree.  I had to cut some native plants to get to the Chinese Tallow to cut it down.  I made a small pile of cut plants next to this pine tree.

Then I went to the large thicket that is between the two large pine trees on the north side of the property.  David joined me later.  We cut down a large Pittisporum (about eight inches in diameter).  We also cut down many small non-native plums (I think they are plums and I know they are non-native).  There are several large non-native plum trees that need a chainsaw to cut them down so we focused on cutting down small plum trees and the smaller branches on the larger plum trees.  We did have to cut some native plants to get access to and room to cut down the non-native plants.

I did see Live Oak and Eastern Red Cedar in this thicket so there are some native trees in this thicket.  The site appears slightly elevated so this may be a pimple mound.  We cut about 1/3 of the thicket.  There still is a lot to cut here and as I mentioned a chainsaw is needed to cut the larger non-native trees down.  We made a large pile of cut plants next to this thicket.  When it is time to pick this cut debris up I will help.  I did see a lot of poison ivy in this thicket so cutters beware.

I look forward in several weeks to revisiting this thicket and continuing the cutting of non-native plants.

Thursday, February 12, 2015
I spent 2.5 hours of volunteer time at the Deer Park Prairie today.  I cut about a 40 foot stretch along the west fenceline which contained large Baccharis, vines, shrubs, and small trees.  The fenceline is looking better and better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Today, David Boyd and I went to Deer Park Prairie and worked two hours apiece clearing along the west fenceline.  We cut down some new vegetation and also cleaned up some areas that had already been cut.

After we cut vegetation we walked around the prairie for about an hour.  I was surprised to see how many plants were still in bloom.  Swamp Sunflower, at least two species of aster (small white and large purple), Downy Lobelia, Texas Coneflower (I thought these had quit blooming two months ago), Simpson Rosinweed, violet species, and others.  It was a treat to see so many plants in bloom when only a few days from December.  The prairie was very wet and definitely shows how it holds onto water.  We also saw a Eastern Meadow Lark, heard a Killdeer, saw a Mockingbird, and saw an unidentified raptor (perhaps a Red-tailed Hawk).

Thanks, Brandt!