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Riparian Vegetation RestorationPlanting happens in the middle of the project,not the end.Susan BuisWSDOT Horticulturist

Riparian Vegetation Restoration• Planning• Site evaluation• Design• Site prep• Planting• Maintenance• Monitoring• AdaptivemanagementWSDOT

Benefits of healthy riparian vegetationPhoto: OSU• Shade reducestemperature• Improves waterquality• Stores water duringstorm events• Reduces erosionand sedimentation

Healthy riparian vegetation provides• Source of small andlarge wood pieces• Near bank cover• Roughness &complexity to stream &floodplain• Leaves, twigs, andinsects for food• Streambank supportand erosion reductionPhoto by Eli Asarian

Factors affecting plant survival• Correct design• Plants healthy andgenetically correct• High qualityinstallation• Good maintenance• AdaptivemanagementSound Native Plants

From Arboriculture: Integrated Management of Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Vines, 3rd edition, ©1999, byRichard W. Harris, James R. Clark, and Nelda P. Metheny

Roots need oxygen.How much?How do they get it?

Site EvaluationElements• Landscape position• Hydroperiod• Soil• Vegetation• Functions

Site evaluation:Landscape Position• Aspect• Slope• Elevation• Sun and shade• Erosion potential• Area land use• Potential issues

Site evaluation: Water• Where is it coming from & going to?• How much is there? When?• How long is it there? How often?• How fast is it moving?

Site evaluation: SoilSusan Buis

Site Evaluation: Vegetation• What’s existing?• Do you want toreplicate it ?• Are there invasivespecies?• What do existingconditions tell youabout the site?Scott Lentz

Existing Communities• Dominantspecies• Invasives?• Upstream oradjacentconditions?• Seed source?Erik Stockdale

What Plant Community Wants toBe There?Should you use a referencesite to guide your design?Yes, with caveats

Plant Successionplant communities change over timePhoto: Paul Adamus

Early successional plant community• Germinates/grows inbare mineral soil• Prefers full sun• Germinates easily andgrows quickly• May be nitrogen fixing• Low species diversity• Example – alder andsalmonberry riparianforest

Late successional plant communityRoyal BC Museum• Plants mayneed/tolerate shade• Needs well-developedsoils with organic matter• No adaptation to usinglarge flushes ofnutrients• High species diversity• Example – cedarriparian forest withdiverse understory

Photo: Michelle Cramer

Criteria for species selection• Objectives anddesign criteria• Nativity• Site conditions• Reference site(s)• Project conditions• Availability• BudgetPhotos by Ben Legler except Carex obnuptaby Fred Weinmann

The scientific name is the legallyenforceable one• Genus• specific epithet• subspecies• variety• VarietyCornussericeassp. stoloniferav. stolonifera‘Red Flame’Don’t specify a ‘Variety’ unlessyou’re ornamental landscaping.Ben Legler

Target Plant ConceptEach Project is Unique

Plant sources and types• Harvest• Salvage• Purchase– Container– Bareroot– Live stakes– Soil bio-engineeringmaterials– Rhizomes, tubers,bulbs occasionallyPhoto: Fourth Corner Nurseries

From Principles and Practice of Planting Trees and Shrubs, by Gary W. Watson & E.B.Himelick, ©1997, International Society of Arboriculture

Buying Plants from NurseriesKeep a catalog fileSend out bid listsAsk about deliveryInspect • them Keep before a catalog acceptance file• Send out bid lists• Ask about delivery• Inspect them beforeacceptanceTom Landis

Container plantsPros• Better survival• Easier to plantcorrectly• Planting seasonlimited only by wateravailabilityCons• More expensive tobuy, ship, and plant• Bulkier to handle,store, and transport• Sometimes havestructurally poor rootsystems

Bare root plantsPros• Cheaper to buy, ship,and plant• Cheaper to handle,store, and transport• Easier to use on siteswith poor access• Less likely to berootboundCons• Very limited plantingseason• Higher mortality

Bareroot plant naming system1 st = yrs in 2 nd = yrs inn seedling bed transplant bed1-0 =2-0 =1-1 =P+1 =1 year old plant, very small2 year old plant2 year old plant1 year in plug, 1 year in field

From Principles and Practice of Planting Trees and Shrubs by Gary W. Watson& E.B. Himelick, ©1997, International Society of Arboriculture

Small PlantsPros• Cheaper to buy, ship,and plant• Adapts to site morequickly and growsfaster• Needs less water toget establishedCons• More easilyovershadowed byweeds• More easily trampled,browsed, mowed, etc.

Large PlantsPros• More resistant toovershadowing,browse damage,lawnmowers• Gives instantlandscape effect,useful for opening daysyndromeCons• More expensive tobuy, ship, and plant• Higher mortality• Needs more follow-upmaintenance• MUST be irrigated thefirst one or moresummers

Live stakes

Soil bio-engineering materials, such aswillow wattles

You get what youinspect,not what you expect.

Plant inspection process Check your plan or contract first so youremember what you asked for Check tags for name of species Count quantity Look at whole lot, then zero in on specificsSize – container, heightHealth – leaves, branches, trunks, ROOTS

Reject this plant!Susan Buis

Because you don’t have time/money to do this!

And the result is this – a girdled tree!From Principles and Practice of Planting Trees and Shrubs by Gary W. Watson & E.B.Himelick, ©1997, International Society of Arboriculture



Types of root systemstaproot, spreading, and fibrousCourtesy Fourth Corner Nursery

Susan Buis

Healthy rootsYes• Light growing tips• Plump, firm• Moist• Cool or cold• Moist packingmaterial• Intact boxesNo• Dark brown tips• Shriveled• Dried up• Warm• Soft, slimy, smelly• Moldy• Banged up boxes

Bareroot plants can be rootbound too,unfortunately.Sound Native PlantsSound Native Plants

Bright green Dull green BrownFirm bark Wrinkled bark Peeling barkGood vigor Poor vigor Dead

USFS: Protecting Plant Genetic Resources

Forest Tree Seed Zones in WA & OR(Johnson, G.R., Sorensen, F.C., St. Clair, J.B. and R.C. Cronn. 2004. Pacific northwest forest tree seed zones.Native Plants Journal 5:131-140.)

Thenurseryindustryisnotverticallyintegrated• Seed and cutting collection businesses• Propagation nurseries• Wholesale nurseries• Retail nurseries

Never buy a “wildflower” mixPhoto: Phil Brooks

Calculating spacing & quantity• Goals & objectives• Successional stage ofsite• Weed competition• Erosion potential• Floodplain roughnessdesired• Installation season• Size/form of plants• Budget• Skill/care level ofinstallers• Type of maintenanceplanned

Planting densityPlant Material Type Density guidelineCuttingsHerbaceousShrubsTreesSeed mix1 to 2 ft on center1 to 2 ft on center3 to 5 ft on center5 to 20 ft on centervaries

Preparing the site for planting• Weed control• Final grading• Adding amendments (compost)• Decompaction• Mulching

WA State Noxious Weed Control Board

The Global Invasive Species Team

Weed control• Weed biology – learn it for the weeds you arecontrolling, it makes a difference in effectiveness• Weed prevention is easier than weed control• Get weeds off the site before planting and thencontinue to control afterwards• Shading is long-term and may not eliminate but canreduce density of many weed species• TNC weed control handbook online at:• County weed control boards have good info

Nature abhors a vacuum –so don’t create one• If soil is disturbed & plants removed, weedswill grow there.• Soil disturbance exposes weed seeds to thelight so they can germinate.• Bare soil is a good medium for seedgermination.• Control weeds and cover bare soil.

Scalping as weed control ?

Effects ofCompactionRunoffErosionRunoffErosionInfiltrationInfiltrationCompactedNon-compacted

Decompact the soilPhotos from Wikipedia

Bark, Wood Chip, &Hogfuel Mulch

used with permissionof the InternationalSociety ofArboriculture, fromPrinciples andPractice of PlantingTrees and Shrubs byGary Watson & E.B.Himelick

Planting timing: October 1 to March 1WSDOT

Planting or seeding patterns

Updated planting techniques• Add amendments towhole site or bed,not just hole• Holes shallow andwide• Top true root justbelow soil surface• Break up rootball,trim circling rootsSusan Buis

Volunteer vs. contractor plantingVolunteer• Great vehicle forenvironmental education• Takes a lot of time andenergy to manage well• Less cash outlay, at least inthe short run• Quality of planting varieswidely, needs supervisionand inspection• Better on small urban sites• Harder to cope with commonSNAFUsContractor• Less time and energy tomanage well• It might cost more, or in thelong run, it might not• Quality depends on who youhire and how well youinspect their work• Works on large and remotesites• May be easier to cope withcommon SNAFUs

Contractor work plans• Initial weed control• Clearing and grubbing• Soil preparation• Plant procurement• Work schedule• Planting technique• Irrigation• Maintenance schedule and activities• Contingency plans

As-builts – good ones• What: Any changes to the plans duringinstallation.• Why: So we know what actually happenedon site, as opposed to what the design saidshould happen.• When: Immediately, before memories fade.• Who: Whoever installed the project.

Maintenance Activity List• Weed control• Irrigation• Repairing fences• Replacing browse protectors• Replacing monitoring markers

Irrigation systems for restoration projects

Adaptive Management

Play detective• Was the project installed as designed?• Did you encounter unexpected conditions on-site?• Did the hydrology turn out as you expected?• Was the soil de-compacted?• Were the plant materials in good shape on arrival?• Was the planting done correctly at the right time ofyear?• Did the plants succumb to drought, weeds, browse?Remember that weeds exacerbate drought!

Roadside Revegetation Handbook Soil & Site Treatments10.2 Obtaining PlantMaterials10.3 Installing Plant Materials10.4 Post Installation Care ofPlant Materials

Free information sheets at:• Site preparation, including limiting and restoring soilcompaction and weed control techniques• Calculating plant quantities and spacing guidelines• Mulches and compost, what they are & how to use• Plant protectors & weed cloth – pros and cons• Irrigation types and costs• Planting tips and techniques• Genetics – why it’s important and how to benefit• And many, many more

Intermountain westriparian vegetation restoration:

Society for Ecological Restoration

Society of Wetland Scientists

River Restoration

Last thoughts• Remember that planting is only halfwaythrough the project.• Be intimately familiar with your project siteand reference site; pay attention to thedetails.• Plan in from the beginning how you willcontrol weeds both before and after planting.• Imagine ahead of time what might go wrong.First, try to make sure it doesn’t happen.Second, create contingency plans to dealwith the possibilities.

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