Bonafide Farm

Bushogging the fields

May 7th, 2014 § 0

It’s been at least two years since I’ve bushogged the two sections of my property that I let grow wild. A neighbor used to cut hay off of these fields, but I decided I preferred to let the fields grow up and become better habitat for birds and little mammals. And, I love the color and texture of the dried broom straw, and how it interacts with light to provide an interesting middle ground in my photographs.


Front FieldWeb

But landscape succession is an inescapable rule of nature, and in this part of the world open fields want to return to hardwood forest. The first pioneers are the brambles, and then come woodier plants such as native Eastern Red Cedars, sown by birds. There’s also some woody plant in the mix that resembles a quince in leaf shape and thorn, but doesn’t appear to flower.


Without mowing, an open field will become an impenetrable thicket in just a few years. It’s a beautiful and fascinating natural process, but not one I want so close to home. Some day I may want to run livestock in these fields, and cutting out the woody growth while it’s still small beats trying to clear it when the plants are much larger and more established.


So last weekend I spent the afternoon bushogging. I left several of the small cedars standing in the back field, thinking they might turn into pretty pasture trees some day. They might also obscure my mountain view, so they may come out further down the road. If I didn’t want to preserve the view I’d let as many as possible grow to create a windbreak to protect the north side of the house from the crazy-strong winds that scream down this valley.



It’s interesting to me how much cutting these fields changes the landscape around the house. Although mown fields look neater and tidier, I prefer the added visual interest of the uncut fields. I guess the good thing is it’s just grass, and it will grow back soon.

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