Cappers Farmer Blogs > This Old Farmhouse

Savanna Restoration Series: Part 4

By Lori Havens


Tags: Farm on the Hill, Oak Savanna, Savanna Restoration, Wisconsin Savanna, Driftless Region Farm, Rotational Grazing, Management Intensive Grazing, Bryan Havens, Lori Havens,

Lori Havens

(Read Savanna Restoration: Part 1 HERE)

(Read Savanna Restoration: Part 2 HERE)

(Read Savanna Restoration Part 3 HERE)

After the 500 saplings had been planted, by hand, one sapling at a time, it was time for some tubing!

tubing on the river

Well, yes, that kind of tubing first … but then it was time for some savanna style tubing!

Bryan and tube

The lovely, delicate, tender, sweet saplings look like leafy twigs to us, but to deer, rabbits and other critters, they look like the finest European chocolate, so it’s important to protect them! Farmer Bryan ordered hundreds of plastic tree tubes. We loaded the boxes into the mule and headed out to the pasture.

boxes in the mule

We have a game for you to play now … it’s called, “Where’s the Sapling?”

finding the hidden saplings

Out here amidst the mature pasture grasses, locating the little saplings is like the ultimate game of “Where’s Waldo.” At first, it took us quite a while to spot them! After we’d found the first dozen or so, we were quite good at it!

clear sapling

hidden sapling

Planting these saplings was slow, hot, sweaty work. Tubing them was no work at all … just a wee bit of time to complete the steps:

STEP 1: Grab a pack of tubes and stakes. Each pack has five tubes ranging from wide to narrow width … pull them apart. Save yourself some steps and grab a few more packs so you don’t have to keep walking back and forth!

unloading tubes

STEP 2: Play “Where’s the Sapling?” and drop one tube and one stake right next to the sapling the second you spot it … if you look away, you’ll lose it!

drop tube next to sapling

STEP 3: Push as much pasture grass away from the sapling as you can and gently place a tube around the sapling. Thread the plastic stake through the zip ties, then hammer the stake into the ground. If it bounces back up each time you hit it, you’re on a rock. Shift it and repeat until it goes down into the ground. Once it’s in and the tube is stable, tighten the zip ties.

pounding in a tube

tube in the ground

pull zip ties  pull zip ties

STEP 4: It is important to label the tube with the type of tree that is inside of it. Bryan labels them “CN” for Chestnut, “CB” for Cherry Bush (as opposed to a cherry tree), “O” for Oak, “H” for Hazelnut, “BL” for Black Locust.

Bryan's tree code  Bryan's tree code

It’s gratifying when you look down the pasture and see that finished row of tree tubes! We were really, really, really happy when the last tube was placed!

a tubed row

Next spring, we will go up on the ridgetop and have a peek inside each tube, to check for “signs of life.”

inside the tube

Any saplings that have not survived will be replaced, finances permitting. Our supplier was not able to ship the apple tree saplings this year for some reason, so Farmer Bryan left spaces in each row where he had an apple tree planned. These trees will have to be planted and tubed next spring.

There! You’ve come alongside us and planted a savanna! Pat yourself on the back … it was a lot of work, and you’re finally done … until next spring, anyway!