We love trees. Last week, in partnership with the Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS), we had 550 trees and shrubs planted on our farm in a 50-100 ft buffer around our two streams. Red maples, swamp white oaks, American sycamores (my personal favorite) and black willows will now line our streams with a spattering (20%) of shrubs such as red chokeberry, spicebush, and two types of dogwood. NRCS helped us to choose these species because they are native to Pennsylvania and don’t mind wet soil.
Why a riparian forest buffer? I’ll bulletpoint it for you.
- They reduce build up of sediment and nutrients in the stream.
- Think reduce runoff into the Delaware Bay.
- They restore wildlife habitats and attract aquatic life.
- Think homes for fish, bugs, and bird species.
- They shade the water which lowers the water temperature.
- See good habitats.
- They increase carbon storage in plants and soil.
- Think global warming/healthy, living nutrient rich soil.
As you can see, it isn’t just about having more trees. As farmers, we love nature and earth. As workers of the land, we feel it is our responsibility to be good stewards of it by protecting the habitats and resources in our care. In this new space, we hope to foster and grow land on our farm that acts as a filter to keep our streams clean and healthy.
Right now, it just looks like we are growing white plastic posts. It’s going to take quite a few years for these shrubs and trees to become established. Some will die. Others will grow and hopefully produce other trees. We’ll just have to see what this space develops into.
You can watch it with us if you would like. One of our buffers is right along the Maiden Creek when you drive past our farm on Hoch Road. This one is the smallest one, but it has a good 60 trees to watch grow. Happy tree watching!