Because of inattention and the interruption of the fire cycle, the understory of our woods have become overgrown with brush; mostly Yaupon Holly. It is so thick it is classified as a "native" invasive species. Yaupon Holly is native to East Texas, but at this level, it's acting just like an exotic invasive.
Yaupon Holly is a shade tolerant plant. It can thrive in shade or sun. Pine trees on the other hand are shade intolerant. They need lots of sun to reproduce. The shading of our forest floor from the overgrowth of Yaupon Holly has interrupted our pine trees reproductive cycle. It has also shaded out the natural grasses and forbs that increase the nutrition of the soil.
The Yaupon Holly has got to go.
Brenda and I have been working most weekends on eradicating the Yaupon. I love the definition of eradicating; "To tear up by the roots." That's what we've been doing. Pulling the Yaupon up by the roots. Here's a picture of some of the Yaupon roots we've pulled up. This is just one pile.
Pulling is hard and slow work, but it's the best way we can think of right now. Cutting would be easier and quicker, but the Yaupon would come back and it would come back quickly. So, pulling it up by the roots is what we do.
Below is a picture of where we've started to cut our new wood's road that I talked about in a previous post.
One of the things you'll notice in the picture to the right is that there are no pine tree seedlings. None. Below is a picture of what happens when you open up a space and let the light in. Lots and lots of pine tree regeneration.