News & Events

Holly Removal Reveals a Hidden Treasure

Author: Jefferson Land Trust | 11/12/18

Tree stump group shot

Hard working volunteers pose with Carrie Clendaniel to celebrate the removal of invasive English holly at Snow Creek Uncas Preserve.

When volunteers Don Englebach, Michael Everitt, Nancy Frisch, Pamela Murphy, and Ann Owsley attended a stewardship work party in late October, they knew they’d be removing invasive English holly. What they didn’t know was that their hard work at the Snow Creek Uncas Preserve¬†would be rewarded with a hidden treasure.

After removing a thick stand of holly, the stump of a long-ago logged cedar, close to five feet in diameter was revealed.

“We didn’t even know it was there,” said Carrie Clendaniel, the Land Trust’s Preserve Manager. “The holly was so thick, the tree stump was totally obscured.”

Snow Creek meanders through a dynamic forest on a portion of the Snow Creek Uncas Preserve. Currently at just over 27 acres, the preserve has been protected over time in four separate transactions. While Snow Creek Uncas Preserve hasn’t been developed for public access, for many years, local students have been visiting this special spot on field trips to learn about forest and stream characteristics.

For Carrie, having the stump of such a large cedar tree revealed is a hopeful sign. “It shows what the forest could look like again, given enough time and care.”

Why do we remove English holly?

This shade-tolerant shrub thrives in our northwest forests. This noxious weed spreads in three distinct ways:

  1. through dispersed seeds that sprout,
  2. through long underground roots that shoot up new shrubs, and
  3. by re-rooting where established branches touch our rich forest floor.

These three propagation strategies allow thick patches of holly to form, pushing out other diverse types of native plants that are more beneficial to our forests and wildlife.