A three-step restoration to restore the habitat and plant species of the Cherry Hill Barrens
STEP 1: ELIMINATE INVASIVE CEDARS & PINES
Over the last 100 years, eastern red cedars and Virginia pines have invaded the grasslands and threatened the open savanna. These trees will eventually overtake the open grassland and overpower the highly desirable oak species. the initial restoration stage involved sawing down the cedars and pines and removing them from the open barrens.
STEP 2: PRESCRIBED BURN*
Controlled, prescribed burning of the open grassland will rejuvenate the serpentine soil, slow the growth of cedars and pines, eliminate fire tolerant species, and reinvigorate the fire tolerant post and black jack oaks. Prescribed burns are usually performed in the fall to mimic the timing of Native American burns and to avoid the active growing seasons.
STEP 3: MONITORING & MAINTENANCE
In the years after a prescribed burn, there is a risk of the establishment of non-native invasive species such as miscanthus grass and barberry bush in the newly re-invigorated soil. The ecosystem will be monitored for these invasive species and they will be removed promptly.
The three-step program was developed with the help of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Natural Heritage Program. It is expected to increase the post oak and black jack oak populations, as well as an increase of indigenous serpentine flowers such a the serpentine aster and serpentine chickweed.
*A prescribed burn will be carried out by a private environmental restoration company licensed and experienced in controlled burning. The estimated cost for the prescribed burn is $15,000. Grants are currently being sought to fund the first burn of the Moshava Barrens.