Living Arroyos

Site Prep


They’re loud and tiring, but earth augers are indispensable in the hard, rocky soil of the Stanley Reach.

What goes on behind the scenes in preparation for a volunteer planting day? In the case of the Stanley Reach, the compacted, rocky soil makes it necessary for UCC’s Apprentices in Ecological Restoration to prepare planting holes by drilling into the soil with gas-powered earth augers. This is hard, tiring work, but it sure beats trying to dig the more than 1,500 holes we’ll need for our acorns with shovels alone.

In some places the soil is so hard that even augers can’t penetrate it. We’ll leave those spots for now and try them again after the winter rains have had a chance to soften things up a bit.

marking sites

Marking locations for holes. This is the easy part!

We’re planting the oaks on ten-foot centers, which is much closer than we expect them to be once they mature. Over time we know we know that not all the trees will make it, so we should end up with an average of one tree every 30 feet or so. If so many die that they leave big gaps we’ll replant in future years.