Friday, February 19, 2010


This certainly doesn’t look like a prairie and by many people’s definition, probably never will. The ground cover definitely has prairie components and there is some fine prairie nearby. This is an area of deep soil near the creek that I am working to convert to a mostly sunny space. As sunlight increases, I hope that this area will produce an increasing collection of prairie plants.

I’ve been doing a gradual clearing here for several years and I’m satisfied with the results thus far. Prairie plants that have never received enough sunlight to produce a bloom are now displaying showy blossoms in the summer.

Invasive plants were the first to be removed, followed soon after by the small and medium sized cedars. Deciduous trees, used to growing with some neighborly support, are now bowed over. These will be removed in the next couple of weeks, assuming we don’t get another two feet of snow.

Dead cedar branches, left in the tree tops from last year’s ice storm, have finally come to ground. These will be cut up and added to the brush piles. Some of the dead lower branches on the big cedars will be removed to make it easier to work in the area.

Once the leaning trees and branches have been removed, I’d like to run JR Brush through the area to knock back the little sprouts that are coming on. There are some uncommon shrubs growing in this area, so I’ll have to mark those before doing any mowing. The mowing will depend on whether or not the ground firms up before everything starts growing. Despite the cold temperatures, the ground beneath the snow is not frozen. Between the snow melt and the normal spring rains, this site may never dry up enough to mow this year.

This is an adjacent area that has been cleared for about twelve years. Prairie species now dominate here. I’m anxious to see how plant growth and species composition transition from this shallow, sloping soil site to the deep, level soil site I’m working on.

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