Two Years of Good Growth

The past two seasons have seen good survival rates for our planted native willows and trees. The large rainfall in the spring and summer has helped sustain good moisture for newly planted stock. The quality of the soil that we are planting in is relatively poor, so any boost from a wet or damp ground is well accepted.

The native Salix willow in the foreground is from a 2018 planting, the one in the background is from the 2019 planting season. Both plants are growing in the area right next to the creek.

It is the new limbs with buds already formed that will fair well in the spring this year. A nice fact new branch, with plenty of flex, indicates a healthy appendage of new growth. The fat branches retain enough moisture to prevent the branch from drying out, over the winter months. There is also a certain color to the branches that is hard to explain, but to the experienced planter it is easy to recognize.

The 2019 native willows that were planted on this stream bank, are easy to spot, when conducting an inspection of the site. In years to come, this stream bank will transform into a haven for wildlife and nice cool shade for the streams water supply. All will be good for fish and other wildlife, when time makes the final difference.

I like using small diameter cuttings that have been rooted and already have top development, when they are planted. As is the case on most riparian plantings that I have had something to do with, there will always be failure, if the soil is poor and not moist. The small plants will tell you if they in the wrong location on the stream bank, and at the wrong time. They will just die. That is the way it works in a natural environment, with no tending by the planter, other than the initial planting.

Rodents also play a role in the long term outcomes of planted sites, along streams. Everyone wants a piece of the action, including muskrats, mice, voles, gophers and yes of course, beavers. If the plant can survive the first season, chances are pretty good that the plant will survive into future years. This is mainly with willows, not trees. willows have evolved to survive ungulate, beaver and other rodent grazing. If the beavers are starving and there are few willows, they will bite the willow base right off at near ground level. This may not leave any buds or bud nodes left on the plant, and the new willows will die.

This willow was planted five years earlier. The beavers will not give this plant a chance, but this will change in the future. Soon, there will be enough new branches that the plant will always have new growth to continue on.

The plant will provide multiple new shoots, after the beavers have taken most of the maturing wood off of the plant. The plant is still growing, so the root systems are getting larger every year. Some willows will create shoots from roots, further away from the water’s edge.

This willow was planted from a cutting, five years earlier. You can still see the original stick, that was the cutting top. I will zoom in and crop the next photo, for a better look.
This is a zoomed in section of the original photo. You can see the top of the cutting, amidst all of the new shoots of the plant.

More Trout Flies From My Collection

Although the trout may be slowly disappearing from some area streams, I still have fond memories of some great days on the water. My old classic trout flies bring back memories from my youth, when trout fishing with a wet fly was magic to me. It is nice to look at some of the old classics that remind me of those special days.

The Gray Ghost is one of the old classic streamer fly patterns. I tied this one for display.
The ” Supervisor ” is another old classic.

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