Cape Cod--Plots Mowed in the Dormant Season

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The columns of photos below depict two different, 0.1-acre plots from the Lombard-Paradise Research Site. The column on the left shows a "Mow Winter 1" plot--a plot that is mowed every dormant season. The column on the right shows a "Mow Winter 4" plot--a plot that is mowed every fourth dormant season.

As you scroll down the columns, the pictures become progressively more recent; the oldest photos are at the top of the page, and the newest photos are at the bottom. "Mowing" here specifically refers to cutting shrub understories with hand-held brushcutters. The estimated cost of this treatment is $225 per acre.

Mow Winter 1 (mowed every dormant season)

date

Mow Winter 4 (mowed every 4th dormant season)

1987
MW1 plot in July 1987, after two mows.   Mow Winter 4 plot in July 1987, after one mow.

1991

Mow Winter 1 plot in June 1991, after six mows.   Mow Winter 4 plot in June 1991, after two.

1997

Mow Winter 1 plot in August 1997, after eleven mows.   Mow Winter 4 plot in August 1997, after three mows.
2002
Mow Winter 1 plot in July 2002, after thirteen mows.   Mow Winter 4 plot in July 2002, five mows.

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The above photo series illustrates the difference in fuel loads resulting from mowing every winter verses burning every fourth winter. For a more quantitative perspective, see below for a graph of the weight of the litter load for the two plots over time.

The weight of the total litter load (including 1, 10, and 100hr woody fuels, as well as 1-hr non-woody fuels) is quite dynamic for the Mow Winter 1 (MW1) plot over the course of the study; the fuel load of the Mow Winter 4 (MW4) plot appears to be gradually declining. The fuel load of the control plots (an average of 5 controls for each year) is slightly greater than that of the two treated plots at the last date they were all sampled, in 1998.

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