Returning cleared areas to woods.

Asked September 15, 2019, 1:44 PM EDT

I am going to be building a new house on a wooded lot. (Zone 6a, 3000 feet elevation) Except for the septic field, I want to let the disturbed areas from the excavating return to woods. What cover can I plant in the mean time that I do not have to mow?

Maryland plant selection native forest trees natural secession the woods in your backyard native red fescue returning to forest

1 Response

You could plant native red fescue. Don't mow it. Let it grow like an ornamental ground cover.

There is a good program for managing or returning areas to woods. Search on our website for 'The Woods in Your Backyard." This program offers classes, a workbook and more information and opportunities to learn about how to achieve a wooded landscape.

You also can begin planting ferns and native shrubs and other plants to give the space a headstart and to also begin spreading their seeds. If you have well-established patches of good natives in your established woods, transplant some to the new area.

An excellent resource for native plants in Maryland is "Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping" which is an online publication with color photos and a great chart of info on each plant.

Deer are a major problem nowadays because they eat tree seedlings, which prevents natural succession from occurring. Plan on fencing or wrapping your young seedlings and saplings to prevent deer browse and rubbing until they get some height. This may also be necessary in your already established woods, since older trees that die can't replace themselves because the deer eat their "babies."

Ellen