We’ve been working for a few years tackling the rampant mugwort that grows in the old farm fields at South Branch Preserve. Mugwort is extremely invasive and discourages a wider, more diverse variety of native plants from thriving. Thanks to regenerative farming ideas from Joe and Emily, who farm for City Green at the preserve, our stewardship team is using clever succession planting techniques. This fall Dennis planted peas and oats to add nitrogen to the soil. Those crops will be turned under, and then buckwheat will be planted to shade out weeds. Finally, flower seeds will be sown thickly to maximize their chances of success.
Hopefully these efforts will jump-start a healthier ecosystem, bringing birds and bees, supporting wildlife, creating a beautiful landscape, and further improving the headwaters of the Raritan River’s South Branch.
There’s good reason South Branch Preserve was named one of New Jersey’s Great Places of 2022. We’re motivated to keep making it even better!