A riparian buffer is a strip of trees planted along a waterway to help filter farm chemicals out from the soil before the water moves from the fields into the river.
Our riparian buffer spans two farm fields and has red oak, swamp white oak, swamp bur oak, walnut, pecan and sycamore trees. After planting the seedlings, and to keep down the competition, we had to mow between the rows. We enlisted our neighbor who was a high school student at the time and farming the land as well, to use his equipment to do the mowing. After the third or fourth year, the trees shouldn’t have needed it, but when we could finally tend to them 12 years later, it was hard to find many of the trees! The deer had walked through and browsed each oak and walnut to a perfect three feet, but the weeds were a good six feet tall!
The trees were otherwise healthy – and it looked like an entire field of bonzai trees. By caging them we could let them release, and that’s exactly what happened.