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New Montpelier Demonstration Forest shows various methods of managing woodlands
A silky dogwood (foreground) will grow at the edge of a wildlife meadow in the Montpelier Demonstration Forest.
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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By Rob Hedelt
"We came in, cleared the area and have planted several species of grasses and wildflowers," she said. "On the edges, to create a transition to the forest around it, we've planted shrubs and trees like dogwood, mulberry and others."
A key aspect of the meadow is the food and cover it will provide for wildlife.
The next two stops show areas where the thinning of some trees in an immature and then a mature forest can help accelerate growth and improve the quality and diversity of hardwoods.
One of those stops accentuates the difference, with a stand of trees to one side of the trail that has been thinned of invasive and problem saplings, while the stand on the opposite side has not been thinned at all.
"As the years go by, the differences in the growth in these two areas will become evident," said Mudrinich, who noted that the thinning provides trees better access to light, moisture and room to grow.
Another stop demonstrates the growth of pines, while another is an area where white and red oaks are getting some help.
Mudrinich said forestry officials have said oaks in this forest and others seem to need help these days to get started. Here, that help has included harvesting of competing trees and protection of young seedlings from deer with tubes and fencing.
Mudrinich, who is in tune with the trail enough to notice an explosion of white rue anemone flowers in one spot and jack-in-the-pulpit plants in another, said the trail demonstrates many different way to manage a forest.
"But the overall message is that no matter which you choose, there are effective ways to do each," she said.montpelier.org
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415