Volunteer Dana Houkal has been doing several interesting and important projects at the preserve. Recently, we’ve reported on his work staking trees after Hurricane Ian and on his leadership of our 2023 summer planting project.
To help us understand the survival of plants from last summer’s volunteer planting project, Dana has recently completed a one-year monitoring report on our revegetation efforts at Turtle Mound. This mound was created in 2020 during our preserve restoration project with soil excavated during expansion of nearby ponds. The mound was seeded with bahia grass in late 2020 to prevent erosion, but we lacked funding to immediately plant trees and shrubs.
Thanks to your ongoing LBC contributions, we had funding available last summer to add native plants at Turtle Mound. Like the other preserve mounds, it is a harsh planting environment. The soil is very sandy and the raised elevation means that rainwater runs off quickly.
Dana set up a monitoring plan to help us determine the degrees of success or failure for each of the 10 species of native trees, shrubs, clumping grasses and wildflowers that we placed on the mound. He created a detailed map of the planting area, numbered the individual plants, and monitored the survival and growth rates for each species.
Dana’s detailed report provides recommendations for future mound plantings and insights on observations from other “dry” planting areas around the preserve. He found that Gumbo Limbo, Live Oak, Slash Pine, Southern Red Cedar, Muhly Grass, Beach Dune Sunflower and Railroad Vine, all survived well and are good candidates for additional mound planting projects. Results for Blanket Flower, Firebush, and Longleaf Pine were less favorable. His report is available by clicking here: Turtle Mound Revegetation Report
Thank you, Dana, for another detailed study that we will use to plan our ongoing planting work!