Uncovering a Gem

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Published on: Oct. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 29, 2010

Missouri Department of Conservation, other government agencies and some private landowners are working to restore degraded glades in Missouri. With a little hard work and persistence, a cedar-choked glade can be transformed back into an open area with an abundance of native plants, insects and animals.

Restoring a glade is challenging but rewarding. The first time you catch a glimpse of a male painted bunting in its bright courtship hues of blue, red and yellow, or when a Missouri primrose begins to show its colorful bloom, you’ll know why glades can be so appealing.

The Hard Work

The best way to restore a glade is to open it up by using a chain saw to remove its overstory of eastern red cedar and other trees. If you plan to cut the trees yourself, make sure your chain saw is in good working order and you have all the necessary safety equipment (chain saw chaps, hearing protection, leather gloves, steel-toed boots, safety glasses and a hard hat). Be prepared for some hard work.

You can also hire a qualified contractor if you are not quite up to the task. Using heavy equipment, such as bulldozers and tractors, to restore a glade is not recommended because the heavy weight could damage the glade’s fragile rock formations and thin soils. The best approach to clearing a glade is on foot, with a chain saw in hand.

You could simply cut the trees and leave them where they fall, but you may benefit from harvesting the cedar. It can go to cedar mills and eventually be turned into a variety of cedar novelty items, as well as cedar mulch.

You can hire a logger to cut and sell the cedar trees on your glade, or you can cut and sell the trees yourself. Before you do either, it would be a good idea to contact a Missouri Department of Conservation forester. A forester can help you better understand the requirements of the cedar mills before you start cutting.

Restoring glades in Missouri is hard work and requires patience. Once the cutting begins, the area goes through what might be called an unsightly phase. This is a necessary step in transforming a degraded area into a functioning glade that hosts beautiful and interesting species of plants and animals.

Once you have let the cedar remnants dry by allowing them to sit on the ground for at least one year, you are ready to

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