Rewilded Native Plant & Fungi Propagation


#1

For some time now, i’ve been desiring personal strategies / seasonal plans to
“propagate” or encourage native species in place / in the field. Meaning, i’d
like to take frequent small steps every time i’m out walking or
whatever, that will encourage abundance and thriving of native wild
systems. I’d also have seasonal strategies for larger projects as needed.

I’d like to get AWAY from the the notion that i have to take
something away, grow it by artificial means, and take it back out,
disturbing existing relationships by my planting activities.

Multiple reasons for this goal, some of which include reduction of labor, money, and need
for extracted resources (artificial growing mediums,
containers, water, etc.) but also it really feels important to me to
develop a relationship in which i am always doing a little something to
give back, and always learning more about and becoming part of the
interrelationships between species i encounter when out.

One little example from this past berry season was that i allocated roughly 1/3 of
my take for scattering in other areas that seemed appropriate, based
upon what i knew of the plants’ growing preferences. I realize that the
“return” on this “investment” may be much lower in terms of actual new
plants germinated, because at home i could “control” conditions and
prevent others from eating the berries, but it really felt good to talk
to the plants i was harvesting from with gratitude and let them know
that i was scattering their children into new potential homes, not just
taking, taking, taking…

Would very much like to hear thoughts, stories, experiences from others on this journey, and if you have any resources / reference materials to recommend i would love to see those as well. Looking forward to reading your stories! :maple_leaf:


Planting Back - giving as opposed to just taking
#2

Hey Tracie. I think you’re on the right path! The trick is to think long term. Each small action will have a ripple effect over time. Clip particularly aggressive exotic species. Introduce native plant materials (or give space to native plants that are already trying to reproduce on site).

I tend to think there are three key issues to address in restoration work, in order of importance: lost processes, lost species and their propagules, and invasive species. If there is a hydrologic process that has been altered on your site, that is what I would address first. Second I would try to add or “release” native plants that you think would have historically been on your site. Lastly, I would work on reducing exotic plant cover. Unfortunately, some invasive species are just so aggressive that you will end up with a monoculture no matter how many native plants you try to add or which processes you restore. At your site that might be reed canarygrass or blackberries. Those are the species that I would just spend a lifetime working on. Maybe you will restore some portion of the historic biodiversity at the site.

Another observation I’ve made: native plants tend to propagate themselves if they are already present, natural processes are intact, and they don’t have too much competition from some of those key invasive species. I think too often people try to propagate plants where they just don’t want to be. If the seeds or other propagules have access to the site and they are not growing, that is when I think about 1) what is it that is preventing their success? and 2) what species have historically occupied that niche that are not here now?

One last point. Your site sounds like it is a naturally forested wetland, and that probably makes the job easier, if you can get native trees and shrubs established in a large enough area. But it is really our unforested areas that are much more difficult to restore. I’ve noticed that quite a few people tend to value more advanced successional states (i.e. forests over grasslands). Often the shade of forests excludes many exotic species and favors shade-tolerant native plants. People mistake this succession for restoration. We have a great deal of native species that are likely best for rewilding human communities that are reliant on both wetlands and uplands that are not forested. If you do have an unforested wetland, you likely have a more difficult task. But those are the areas that most need the return of human tending.

Ok, I got way off track from your original post! I’ll post a short follow-up that is more on-point…


#3

Ok, more to your point. Could you post some plants and/or fungi that you are wanting to encourage?

I tend to think that fungi will do what they do regardless of our actions. I consider myself at least an amateur mycologist, and I’ve never bought into many of the claims out there about propagating fungi to help the Earth, or some such thing. If there is C-rich material to break down, you can bet fungi will get to it. If you want to propagate them for consumption, that is a different matter. I’ve never had the patience to propagate fungi with much success, but I’ve dabbled. It would be fun to discuss.

As far as plants - Are you hoping to propagate trees/shrubs? Bunch grasses? Bulbs? Annual wildflowers? Have you had some success with growing them in containers or in more controlled circumstances? Sometimes that is at least a way to get a sense of their life cycles.

I guess I’d be interested in more specifics! :slight_smile: