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The weather was crisp, with frost riming the grass and leaves in the park. Good work kept us warm, though, and the sun shone through the thinning canopy to help.

Thirteen people were Friends of North Beach Park Saturday, ranging in age from 8 to 80 and from completely new participants to those who have been to every work party (a better record than I have, in fact).

The main goal of the day was to install plants. Some areas had been cleared by volunteers, and other areas had been cleared… by trees falling. In fact, in the last week and a half, two trees have fallen in North Beach Park, an alder and a big leaf maple.

This picture shows two fallen alder trees. The more recent one is in the center of the picture.

Two fallen alder trees. The more recent one is in the center of the picture.

This picture looks along the fallen maple trunk, from the root ball towards the crown.

Looking along the fallen maple trunk, from the root ball towards the crown. In the foreground are two replacement trees, a big leaf maple and a grand fir.

A fallen tree is an important part of the forest ecosystem, and the deciduous trees in North Beach Park are at the end of their life spans. The problem is that there aren’t enough young trees to take over the canopy. North Beach Park is lucky in that we do have younger deciduous and coniferous trees (ranging from saplings up to mid-canopy), but if we hadn’t started restoring it, the forest would be in serious danger. The canopy gaps create light cones to the forest floor; in a healthy forest, this would create a great burst of energy for the next generation of trees. However, in an urban forest, the danger is that the invasive plants will really take over.

The forest floor of North Beach Park is in better shape than it was when we started. There are nearly two thousand plants installed, ranging from trees to groundcover. These will benefit from the new light from the canopy gap, and the nutrients put into the soil by the decaying wood.

Today, in fact, we planted two trees at the base of the new falls and some falls from last year: a big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) and a grand fir (Abies grandis). This combination went into at least three places. We also planted a number of shrubs, groundcover, and wetland plants, including several that are underrepresented or were nonexistent in the park before restoration.

In all, we planted nearly two hundred plants. The table below lists what we planted.

  Genus Species   Common Name
Abies grandis grand fir
Acer macrophyllum bigleaf maple
Amelanchier alnifolia serviceberry
Asarum caudatum wild ginger
Dicentra formosa Pacific bleeding heart
Gaultheria shallon salal
Juncus acuminatus tapertip rush
Mahonia nervosa low Oregon-grape
Myrica californica Pacific wax myrtle
Petasites frigidus coltsfoot
Prunus emarginata var. mollis bitter cherry
Tiarella trifoliata threeleaf foamflower
Nicole, Morry, Julie, Kirstie, and Lina (with Jesse nearby) work in the Central Valley. Can you find them all?

Nicole, Morry, Julie, Kirstie, and Lina (with Jesse nearby) work in the Central Valley. Can you find them all?

Jesse found a bug!

Jesse found a bug!

The stalwart crew!

The stalwart crew!

Our next workparty will be January 23, 2016. We’ll be doing a lot of planting then, too, if you want to join us.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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