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Forest Scaping

Forest Scaping is a restoration process whose primary aim is to create biologically rich plant communities on land of little ecological value.

Many owners have land they don’t know what to do with.  They may have a few acres surrounding their house or land overgrown with weeds and brush. They are faced with one option, mow it or do nothing. Forest Scaping provides an alternative to the usual practice of perpetual mowing or benign neglect. Land covered in grass or weeds can now be turned into land you can be proud of.


Large residential lots are perfect for developing Forest Scapes.
1 Acre covered in shrubs and trees feels more spacious than 1 acre of grass.

Forest Scaping now gives you a variety of options to create something of beauty out of nothing. The land can be restored to a natural state as native forest, managed as songbird habitat, turned into your private nature preserve or any one of countless other ideas you can dream of.   Forest Scaping can be used to develop a natural landscape that beautifies the look of your property and enhances your surroundings.   It is also used to achieve biological and conservation objectives such as creating habitat for song-birds or developing a shrubland or forest community.  The vision is yours. The most ornamental plants are used to achieve your landscape objective as well as the best species for wildlife. You control the development of the landscape by choosing the mix of species that you introduce and how the plant community grows and develops.  I help you achieve that vision and nature benefits in the process. Each landscape is unique to the property and developed with the full participation of the property owner. 

Under Forest Scaping management, native vegetation is restored on a scale that cannot be achieved by any other method and it can be implemented on any piece of land. Large expanses of lawn, abandoned fields and any large open area are a biological desert that provides little habitat for wildlife and contributes little environmental benefit. The land is quickly planted with desirable native shrubs and trees replacing the grass and weeds with attractive woody plants.  Over time natural processes return. The land is covered in vegetation, wildlife returns and nature has a place to thrive. Naturally this process takes some time and patience is needed for the vision to take shape.

Forest Scaping is successful because it combines the natural processes of plant succession with proven horticultural practices. Seedlings of both native shrubs and trees are established that will quickly develop into a functioning plant community. Once the process has been started it will continue to develop on its own without additional assistance or you can actively help the process along.

Two methods of plant establishment are used that reduces the cost and increases results.  A select number of nursery-grown trees and shrubs are planted that give immediate concrete results.  These nursery grown plants are the foundation of the developing landscape. These plants grow rapidly and in a few short years these plants make a strong visual impact.  They also produce seed that will help to generate more new plants in the surrounding area.  

In addition to container grown plants, seed of native trees and shrubs is planted.  This technique called direct seeding introduces large quantities of seed of many different species.  Seed is planted in the soil where it will germinate and contribute large numbers of seedlings to the future landscape. This technique can produce far more seedlings with less time and money than any other comparable method.  The land owner is instructed and encouraged to continue this process.  Direct seeding promotes greater plant diversity on the property and allows a larger area to be planted than could otherwise using purchased plants.


Large field planted with containerized tree seedlings and direct seeded with tree and shrub seed.

We have become conditioned to buying our trees and shrubs half grown for landscaping or planting bare-root seedlings for reforestation. Neither of these options are practical when growing a forest covering many acres in size or replanting a large field. Forest Scaping is a method that combines both the natural process of plant establishment with wise stewardship to achieve the ecological and aesthetic results you want.

This plan strikes a balance between affordability and instant gratification. It is the most economical method for large-scale establishment of trees and shrubs.  It will accomplish your goal of covering your land with native plants in a few short years instead of waiting a lifetime. Forest Scaping is a partnership between you and your land. You are the partner in establishing the plants and shaping the development of your property.


Example of Grey dogwood and Chokecherry fruit.

Native tree and shrub species are chosen that are the most ornamental plants in upstate New York. These species produce beautiful flowers, showy foliage, colorful fruit, stunning fall colors. They are also the most attractive to birds. The shrubs quickly produce fruit thereby supplying a ready source of seed for hand planting or allowed to spread by natural means.