We were quite lucky with the weather this year. Not so much in the way most of us are thinking ;-). There was generous rainfall during the whole month of June. For large-scale reforestation undertakings, this is the most important factor. However, we had to postpone the maintenance work that we usually do after the spring planting season.
Favorable conditions delayed mulching
Normally, there is enough rainfall in April and May, after which we start to mulch the newly planted seedlings. June is the crucial month, as this is the third month during which our young seedlings struggle to grow their roots deeper into the ground to reach more humid layers before the summer heat of July and August.
As it turned out, this year, not only was June a very wet month, but the rain continued well into mid-July. So this is excellent news for our young plants.
Needless to say, this delayed our mulching operation as workers needed some dry weather to go up the mountains to bring the bales of hay and do their work. In June, we were able to mulch as many as 218,000 plants in Jrashen 2.
Weeding of afforestation areas
We did more maintenance by removing by hand the tall grasses that had grown impressively in some areas around the newly planted trees. We chose to remove them by hand as machines will inevitably damage the trees. Experience has shown that about 30% of trees are damaged while using motorized equipment.
We removed tall grasses also on the northern slopes of Jrashen 1. Our workers thus cleared about 15,000 trees of tall grasses.
This maintenance is necessary to help the young trees as the roots of wild grass vigorously compete with the young trees’ roots for nutrients. Removing grass stops or slows the photosynthesis of these grasses and thereby slows the activity of their roots.
Not just plant trees, create forests!
This maintenance work is essential and is part and parcel of our determination to create forests, not just plant trees. We hope that the results will pay off. Still, the areas we cover are immense, and so is the work, read work-hours, we need to do to achieve meaningful results. At the end of the day, though, we should always remember that this work is totally dependent on nature. Ultimately, Nature will decide whether we will be successful.