Establishment maintenance continues on the three different demonstration areas. Ponderosa plantation enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the plantation section is doing great and many of the seedlings are now trees over 10 feet tall at age 6. There were some scattered clumps of Hawthorne and scotch broom that were removed for esthetics in 2009. The ponderosa pine / oak savannah is also doing well but required minor scotch broom and black berry maintenance. The demonstration area is now visited frequently by the Oregon Garden Resort guests and the tram rolls by several times a day during April thru October.
The Eastern Oregon uneven aged mixed species segment has proven to be the biggest challenge. The heavy grass creates mice and vole habit and moisture stress on the seedlings in the late summer. Grass treatment is difficult especially for the species that normally do not grow on such harsh sites. It has been a challenge to establish western hemlock, western red cedar and larch. Even the white fir and grand fir struggle. The Oregon Garden is deer fenced however, while working in the plantation it is not uncommon to flush out a couple of them. Some small seedlings need browse protection from these critters and the mice and voles. In March, AmeriCorps students and OFRI staff added additional seedlings and Vexar-tubed the small trees to protect against the deer. The seedlings that survived the browse took a toll during the hot streak in the summer. It has definitely provided many teachable moments and educational discussions for visitors and students visiting the Rediscovery Forest. If you visit the Oregon Garden be sure and visit the ponderosa pine demonstration area.