It has been a little over two weeks since Cedar Valley burned. There are small patches of grasses in the sea of ash and cinders. You can tell where a brush pumper was stationed- there is some “pre-fire” vegetation that did not burn and the edges have thicker new growth. Any Johnson grass in these areas had shot up about two to three feet.
Some of the pioneer plants are Johnson grass, Buffalo gourds and Mesquite seedlings. There are other grasses trying to move in but the deer are browsing them heavily. The gourd vines and Johnson grass are thriving as they are not being eaten.
Last week piles of Redbud seed pods were scattered throughout Cedar Valley. They have a thicker seed coat and germinate faster if either frozen for a couple weeks or they pass through an animal’s digestion system. We soaked the Redbud seed pods for twenty four hours then drizzled honey on the piles of seeds. None of the piles could be found this week, so something ate them. Hopefully they deposited the digested seeds around Cedar Valley.
While surveying the area five whitetail deer were spotted in the distance. With no brush to hide them the deer quickly retreated to the edges of the valley. No small mammals were seen. There were some birds feasting on all the exposed grasshoppers. One juvenile Mockingbird actually paced us to the side, gobbling the grasshoppers we kicked up.
With no blooming flowers to feed on it was no surprise that no butterflies were seen. Last week park staff sowed Lemon Monarda, Coreopsis (Tickseed) and Thelesperma (Greenthread) along the southern edge of the burned area. This week Indian Blanket was also sown, along with more Monarda and Coreopsis,-primarily on the eastern edge and center portion of Cedar Valley. Time will tell how effective the reseeding efforts are.