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Reforestation with native trees, mostly willows

 

Photo credit: The San Diego Union-Tribune

Flavio Sanchez, of Habitat Restoration Sciences, Inc., carries a cottonwood tree to be planted in a habitat restoration area at the Lake Calavera Preserve. (Charlie Neuman)

Going native at Lake Calavera Preserve

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by Phil Diehl Contact Reporter

Hunndreds of carefully cultivated young native trees and shrubs are taking root at Carlsbad’s Lake Calavera Preserve where a grove of invasive Mexican fan palms was recently cut down and hauled away.

A wide palette of trees and plants — oaks and cottonwoods, marsh elder and lizard tail — was installed at the preserve this week as part of a habitat restoration project coordinated by the city.

The palms may have been pretty, but in wildlife areas such as the preserve, they are a nuisance that attracts rats and other rodents, while crowding out desirable native plants and animals, officials said.

“You give them an inch, and they’ll take an acre,” said Eddie Rosas, a foreman for Habitat Restoration Sciences, the company hired by Carlsbad to tackle the replanting project.

The restoration project is designed to compensate for vegetation removed as part of the maintenance of the Lake Calavera dam. The preserve, with more than six miles of public hiking trails, is on the northeastern end of Carlsbad near the Oceanside border and is notable for the ancient volcanic cone at its center.

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Most of the trees planted this week were willow cuttings. Workers took hundreds of cuttings from three types of willows — arroyo, red and black — already growing in the preserve and then stored the inch-thick, 4-foot-long cuttings for a week in buckets of water, like flowers in a vase.

 

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.