Weeds and the Trimming Thereof

augs
President
Board Member

June 10, 2017, 07:54 AM

It's that time of year again;  The weeds are tall, growing fast, and taking some of the fun out of our excellent trails.  Almost all of our trail maintenance is done by volunteers, and that could be you!  Trimming is relatively easy, can be done with one or two people, and can be done whenever you have time.  We have the equipment, you just need to hook up with a trail steward for a brief training (10 minutes or so), and then you are off.  Check the links at the bottom of this message to get involved at your favorite trail.


One thing to remember is that weed trimming is not a detail operation; you need to cut back much more than it seems like you might at first glance;  if you leave the trails nice and rideable, between the fast growth and what falls back over the trail, in a couple days it will seem like you were never there.   

When trimming grass, prairie plants, and any non-woody growth, you need to trim as far back from the trail as the growth is high.  In other words, if the weeds are 3' tall, you will be cutting a swath about 7' wide (3' on each side plus 1' of trail).  Otherwise, the uncut growth will grow and fall into your corridor and quickly crowd the trail again.  You can do this by cutting low for the full width, or by tapering up at 45 degree angle, so that the plants  that tip over toward the trail still don't reach it.  This will seem like a lot, and will look  butchered when you are done, but come back in a week and it will look great instead of needing to be trimmed again.  If you can talk a friend into following you with a blower, that's great, but traffic will clear most of the trimmings off the tread in short order.  And don't forget to look up; there are many grassy/prairie sections that have a few trees around, and you want to get the face-scratchers while you are there.  Usually you can whack these off with the string trimmer, but it doesn't hurt to carry a small pruning shear for the occasional woody branch.

If you are trimming woody growth, again, trim much further back than you feel like you need to.  You don't want to leave the cut ends of small branches anywhere near eye-level on the trail.  Mostly what we are cutting around here is buckthorn and honeysuckle; you're not going to do them any harm by trimming deeply.

If done right, trimming only needs to happen 2 or 3 times a year, and shouldn't take up too much time, especially if we can spread the work around.  So instead of complaining about the weeds, grab a string-trimmer and make them pay for slowing you down on your last ride!

To find out more about lending a hand:

Blue Mound:  http://www.madcitydirt.com/index.php?topic=2456.0
CamRock:  http://www.madcitydirt.com/index.php?topic=3748.0
Blackhawk and Pleasant View:  http://www.madcitydirt.com/index.php?topic=3758.0
Quarry Ridge:  quarryridge@madcitydirt.com
Quarry Park: quarrypark@madcitydirt.com
Seminole: seminole@madcitydirt.com

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XXX
imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

June 30, 2017, 07:58 AM

Your trail stewards and land managers need your help!

Bike sales, club memberships and trail pass sales say there are thousands of you. The work logs say 10-12 of you trim weeds.

Not helping get this done is a serious problem. All of our use agreements and relationships require that we take care of the trails. Do you understand what will happen to the trails you ride if you don't do your part?

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XXX

June 30, 2017, 04:40 PM

Where needs the most help? I could help at Quarry Ridge or BlackHawk.  ;)

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XXX
Renegade Rick
Webmaster
Administrator

July 01, 2017, 06:00 AM

Where needs the most help? I could help at Quarry Ridge or BlackHawk.  ;)

According to this post, help is needed at Quarry ridge right now...
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10158935927975313&id=10150124942460313

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XXX

May 31, 2018, 12:36 PM

Made it out to PV a couple times this week with the string trimmer. It is much faster going now that weeds are not super mature and tough. The trimmer is at middleton power now for a tune up and a new basket. If you can make it out to help make sure you have a head net for the bugs.

I've made it from the start across the prairie, and into the western woods, but not all the way to the Y intersection.  That would be the ideal place to pick up if you go out to cut.

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XXX

June 05, 2018, 10:45 PM

I've finished PV except for the pump track.   Blackhawk is next. Anyone touch the Farm yet?

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XXX
imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

June 07, 2018, 10:14 AM

I've finished PV except for the pump track.   Blackhawk is next. Anyone touch the Farm yet?

Thank you Creeper!

I don't know about Farm, but these posts motivated some new helpers who will get an orientation or start on Saturday.

Pat Conway has adopted the Blackhawk creek trail.

For the rest, please give big thanks to the really small group of people who do a whole lot of work! It was really sweet for some of us to get a new offer of help but we could use a whole lot more. Please consider how more people adopting small sections of trail will have a big impact.

I bought and distributed some face shields last summer. Do we need more? Anything else?

Thank you.

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XXX

June 07, 2018, 07:28 PM

I never saw the face shields. What works for me is a hat and glasses under a head net. The net keeps the bugs off and helps block debris from making direct impact.

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XXX

June 21, 2018, 09:53 AM

Besides creekside, all trails at Blackhawk need trimming. Please consider putting in some time as it will be too wet to ride for a few days and it would be great to have everything freshly shorn when it dries enough to ride. Most segments don't have too much ground cover, but have low branches or stalks reaching out into the riding line waiting to scrape arms and legs. Remember to trim wide and tall.

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XXX

June 21, 2018, 10:00 AM

I made it to the Farm on Tue and nearly finished the North loop. This is a great trail because it is so challenging. Click the join button and pay your due to help CORP provide trails, then contact FarmGuy for permission to ride the Farm. Now that the weeds are beat back, it would be great to get some tires on the ground.

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XXX

July 06, 2018, 11:27 AM

Hi, I'm kinda new to the whole scene and am located on the east side of Madison but would like to give some time for maintenance of the trails. The best times for me right now are weekday evenings after work. If you could please let me know where I can specifically help out that would be great.

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XXX
Dave Reece
Technical Terrain (TTF) Crew

July 06, 2018, 04:27 PM

Welcome to the scene, we're glad you're here!
Do you have a preference to which trail you would like to help out at?

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XXX

July 09, 2018, 08:51 AM

Thanks! At the current moment I don't have a preference on the trail I'd like to help out at. I would like to keep it at the Madison area or Cambridge could work too.

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XXX
imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

July 11, 2018, 11:06 AM

I did a scythe season @ Pleasant View to knock down 4 spots with wild parsnip and poison ivy but ran out of time just before the prairie area. The berm and curve climb up to that has some but not as bad as the areas cut back. It would be nice if someone could get that next patch of wild parsnip where I ran out of time.

We have high quality scythes at Blue Mound and Pleasant View. They can be very effective tools and they're easy to transport. You need a wrench to put the blade on. Please know those blades are $95 and require care. Be very careful about using them around rocks.

Each season I'm seeing more and more of the wild parsnip at S. WI trail systems. Make sure you know what it looks like and help cut it back from trail edge so an unknowing rider is spared misery.

Some of us have our uniforms and theories on how to dress for this whether it's the bugs or the bad weeds. I wear long pants, long sleeves and wash the stuff separately. In addition I wear a mosquito net and wear a face guard when I use a string trimmer. If a string trimmer hits a bunch of poison ivy or wild parsnip that spray can make you really unhappy after the fact.

I hope that didn't scare anyone and hope we can get some more new people doing this.

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XXX

July 12, 2018, 09:30 AM

Any suggestions on where to get the mosquito net from?

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