So I spent yesterday morning and early afternoon inspecting our family ground and looking at the results of some of my habitat work. I bumped both a hen and a quail off their nests, saw another pheasant slinking into someone else's wheat field, and heard quail at a different spot. Here's what I saw in my habitat work:
Of the 40 shrubs I planted in the spring of 2022, right before this nasty drought set in, 4 leafed out this year. 25 of them had some protection from competition from landscape fabric. Only two of those 25 leafed out. The other two that made it were simply planted in spots that didn't have any existing vegetation. I used a moisture-attracting root slurry on all of them. The 40 were a mix of chokecherry and fragrant sumac. All 4 of the survivors are fragrant sumac.
Three different 1-2 acre areas that I am attempting to get back to NWSG all look a little disappointing. 2 of them were seeded in March of 2022, right about when it stopped raining. I attempted to frost seed the 3rd area this past winter--lots of competition from bindweed in this third area. I'm going to give them this year and maybe next before deciding about replanting. I guess the positive side of this is that one of these areas seems to have a nice stand of kochia developing.
I've gained some ground in my war against against a stand black locust. There was a major offensive in March with chainsaws and Tordon that seems to have helped a lot. There will be some on-going low-intensity warfare with basal-bark treatments of Remedy and diesel fuel for many years.
Last fall we disked three strips in some expired CRP grass to set back the grasses and encourage forb growth. I think the lack of rain in winter and early spring caused some die-off of my good grasses. Regardless, 2 of those strips look pretty good as far as forbs go. The third strip has a lot of cheat grass in it. It almost looks like it was planted in rows along the tracks of the disc blades.
My cheat grass pasture needs grazed again next year, and probably several years after that. Rains in the last month have really produced a "nice" crop.
Big parts of Kansas have had decent rains in the last 30 days. While we have had some rains, my stuff is in the areas that weren't so blessed.