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Sullivan’s Islanders discuss land management on Spring Island

By Larry Middaugh

Even though the Fort Moultrie Visitor’s Center appeared closed on Wednesday, January 27, (blocked parking lot; no lights at the front door), a number of Sullivan’s Island residents found their way to the Center’s auditorium for the second in the series of talks on vegetation management techniques sponsored by the Sullivan’s Islanders Group. The talk by Karl Ohlandt, a Landscape Ecologist at Spring Island with degrees in Biology, Horticulture, and Landscape Architecture, outlined some principles used to integrate nature and residential environments. The noted principles could be useful for improving vegetation management of the accreted land in the Sullivan’s Island land trust RC1 area, and integrating the natural environment with adjacent residential areas.

Points in Ohlandt’s talk included: 1) evidence that variation in species and height of vegetation is advantageous for the plants as well as wildlife, including birds and butterflies; 2) information that vegetation native to the local area is the most robust and easily maintained and should be maintained in its natural state to the extent possible; 3) advice that trimming procedures should attend to maintaining the natural process of the vegetation with particular emphasis on maintaining height variation of understory vegetation.

Ohlandt noted that one of the strongest compliments he can receive on an area he has trimmed is that no one noticed that the area had been trimmed. Finally, he provided several pre- post-trimming pictures demonstrating what is considers to be appropriate manipulation of natural vegetation and how limited trimming can be used to emphasize or frame more distant views to enhance the view while causing little damage to existing vegetation.

For more information on upcoming meetings, or about the Sullivan’s Islanders Group in general, visit

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