Introduction to St. James Farm III: Forest, Field, Restoration
October 23, 2015 at 6:48 am (Uncategorized)
Tags: bur oak, Eupatorium rugosum, forest, ironwood, Ostrya virginiana, Quercus alba, Quercus macrocarpa, Quercus rubra, red oak, restoration, St. James Farm, white oak, white snakeroot
by Carl Strang
The dominant wild habitat at St. James Farm Forest Preserve is its forest, the largest wooded block in the western half of DuPage County to survive from the original land survey to the present day.
Portions of the forest are dominated by red oaks, some of which are huge. This is very unusual in DuPage County.
White and bur oaks, more typical of the county’s woodlands historically, are well represented as well.
Not as big as the oaks, but equally remarkable, is this ironwood. It has a stem diameter of 11 inches.
Ironwood seldom grows big enough to become part of the canopy.
Significant portions of the forest recently have been cleared of invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle, and a first response has been a heavy growth of white snakeroot, a native forest annual.
Trails ultimately will be improved to provide ready access through the preserve.
Here a recently constructed trail curves through a meadow. It also extends into the southern part of the forest.
At the moment, the northern part of the preserve is closed as a major restoration project proceeds.
The focus of the project is this stream, once a straight ditch, now improved with meanders and streambed improvements.
Following the ensuing growth and development of that area will be one theme of my monitoring observations to come.