You no longer need to live with the woodlot you have. You can create the forest you always dreamed of. WON can help you restore and manage your forest for your enjoyment and pleasure.
The vast majority of forests have regrown on land that had previously been cleared for farming or used for grazing during the last 200 years. These second growth forests lack the full complement of plant species that make up a healthy diverse forest. Many forest contain only fast growing tree species. The canopy trees may be present but the associated shrubs and herbaceous plants are missing. These plants make up the important understory layer and help to support a range of biological processes and host of organisms. It's this diversity that makes a forest communty different from a tree plantation.
The understory is the most important ecological layer of the forest. The majority of bird and animal species live within 6 ft of the forest floor. They forage, nest and spend most of their time in this layer. A woodland with out an understory is close to being a green dessert. A dense understory of forbs, shrubs and tree seedlings will harbor more bird species than a woodland without.
Diverse woodland flora and Virginia Bluebells in spring.
You can restore your woodland using a combination of nursery grown plants and direct seeding. Read more about direct seeding on the Ecological Services page.
Woodland wildflowers bring abundant color and interest to the woodland community from spring through fall. Your woodland can become as inviting as any flower garden or arboretum. Most woodland flowers can be introduced from seed and are fairly easy to establish in large numbers. Direct seeding of woodland forbs is the only economical way to repopulate your woodlands. Direct seeding can cover acres of woodland with numerous wildflower species.
Shrubs species are particularly important in the understory layer. Their small stature, woody structure and growth habit provide much needed cover for birds close to the ground, where the majority of birds forage and nest. Many woodland birds particularly ground nesting species will benefit from a healthy understory of shrubs and tree saplings. The cover protects them from predators, provides nesting sites and increases food resources.
Black locust monoculture and lack of understory in a second growth woodland .
The shrubs and herbaceous plants that grow in the woodland understory are some of the most beautiful flowering plants known to gardeners: Flowering dogwood, Virginia bluebells and Blood root are just a few examples. These plants can grace your woods with beautiful blooms and foliage. Once a few plants are established they can expand their numbers by natural means or you can aid their spread by collecting and planting the seed.
Restoring your woodland flora not only creates beautiful woodland scenes for you to enjoy but restores an important ecological component of the forest community that will last for generations.
Blue cohosh in Fall and Spring. A sea ofTrillium.