Welcome Ruderals

I learned the word “ruderals” when I started looking at the plants in the park. It turns out that a whole lot of them were “plant species that [are] first to colonize disturbed lands.” Ruderal comes from the Latin rudus meaning rubble. Well, now that the rip-rap rehab is basically over, we have quite a bit of disturbed land. The contractor’s workers went over stretches like this by hand, pulling out the bigger stones and tossing them over the edge. But what remains is still rubble.

The next day the contractors spread an inch or two of dirt over this stretch of the shoulder and fenced it off with orange construction plastic. Photo below:

According to one of the workers, the plan is to scatter seeds over this area. As to irrigation, one worker said irrigation could be installed, with a water line running along the path. Another said irrigation wasn’t in their contract. As of Monday evening, all the contractors’ heavy equipment had been removed.

If there is a concerted effort to cover the disturbed areas with soil, plant native ground cover, and provide temporary irrigation, this stretch of shoreline can become very attractive. If nothing is done, the ruderals will soon find it, and we’ll have a strip of thistles, curly dock, and bristly oxtongue, wider and more impenetrable than before.

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