The Ultimate Dirt-Timers!

“Dirt Time” is time spent outside doing hands-on stuff, and nothing says Dirt Time quite like our Cut-n-Dab Society.  These dedicated volunteers are out here once a week attacking the invasive plant species that are marching across the property.

Yesterday I went out with the group to get some of their actions “on film.”

Upon arrival at the site of the current mission, Gary, our stewardship coordinator, shows Bill the day’s target plants:  trees and shrubs.

The tools are readied.

One of the most important tools of the day is the chainsaw, but handsaws are equally important, especially when the chainsaw decides to be temperamental.

Loppers are just as important, especially for getting those tiny branches that  grow up in dense clusters.

All twigs, limbs and trunks are piled up in large brush piles, which will eventually be torched, completely removing them from the landscape.  In the meantime, the brush piles make great shelters for small birds and mammals.

The last step the Society takes is the dabbing.  Within the cup Pat is holding is the secret ingredient – a highly effective herbicide.  Note the sponge in her other hand.

The herbicide is applied (dabbed) directly onto the living portion of the cut plant – targeted application.  This keeps the poison in a specific location rather than spreading it willy-nilly across the landscape.

As you can see, only the outer ring is dabbed – this is the living tissue of the tree (or shrub).

A morning spent Cutting and Dabbing soon turns an invasive-riddled field from a gnarly collection of unwanted plants…

…into an open field with islands of native species!  The bluebirds were out singing their praise for the Society’s efforts.

All of us here at Dahlem thank them as well.  This is a monumental task, one that will no doubt take years to complete, but they have made terrific inroads on this project, and you can see the fruits of their labors as you walk the trails.

If you’d like to join the Cut-n-Dab Society, give us a call.  New hands are always welcome!


About Dahlem Center

The Dahlem Center is a non-profit nature center/environmental education center located on almost 300 acres just south of the city of Jackson, Michigan. The Center is one arm of the Dahlem Conservancy, which includes land conservancy and stewardship in its mission.
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