Making Magic with Magic Sticks!

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Photos and text by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Northwest Members Lauren McKenna and Nicole Poletto

Village Home @ Johnson Creek, 1/18/2013

Village Home returns to Johnson Creek despite the chill to chop down some tree branches.  Chop down, you say?! Yes! For the purpose of creating live cuttings that will quickly create a dense mat of roots to prevent erosion, filter toxins, promote root growth in the other newly planted native plants and provide shade.  Last week, the plant of choice was Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocapra).  This hardy riparian tree, similar to willows (and is of the same family as willows) regenerates and grows roots quickly.

“The aggressive root
systems of black cottonwood are effective soil
stabilizers and make the species useful in restoration
of riparian areas, where it also provides protection for
the aquatic environment, especially in helping to
maintain low water temperatures through shading.
The high nitrate uptake and extensive rooting of these
trees make them useful for buffer or “filter” planting
along streams in agricultural areas.”

-USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

After 1 year!


After 5 year

(Source: phytosphere)

We scouted out Johnson Creek to find some cottonwoods to harvest from.  Then the Village Home crew trimmed them down of their lateral branches to make the famous “magic sticks“! Some of the younger students became pretty attached to their magic sticks that they made!  About 20 live cottonwood cuttings were installed.  Then they finished the day with a reflection!

Thank you Village Home for joining us again!

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