Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

GLEDN

We all know the damaged non-native invasive species do. They exclude our native species — insects, plants, animals and other biota – reducing biodiversity, reducing crop yields, reducing recreational enjoyment of our waters, and lowering land values.  [Read more…]

Common St Johnswort – Hypericum perfolatum

Common St Johnswort (Hypericum perfolatum) is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is also known as Klamath weed, goatweed, and dotted St Johnswort. This last common name is because the leaves are dotted. It was first discovered in the U.S. in 1793 at Pennsylvania. It was introduced as a garden ornamental. How many invasives can you name that were introduced in this manner? It is considered a noxious weed in 7 states in the U.S. As with many non-natives, Common St Johnswort has no substantiated value for wildlife as food or as cover. In fact, it is dangerous to most livestock and birds have not been found to feed on the fruiting parts either. [Read more…]

Oxeye Daisy – Leucanthemum vulgare

Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is a perennial, herbaceous, non-native plant growing 1 to 3 feet tall with showy white flowers. It was introduced from Europe as an ornamental plant and as seeds contaminating cereal crops. It has spread profusely across the world and is a non-native in 40 countries and every state in the U.S. Oxeye daisies survives in a wide variety of soil types, climates, and other environmental conditions. Frost and drought do not affect this plant. [Read more…]

Operation Fresh Start and Trout Unlimited

This article appeared in the May 5, 2016 Pectonica Valley Leader newspaper. I’ve transcribed it here as well as included a photo of the article.

By Gary McKenzie

Blanchardville couple Jim and Marci Hess are active members in Southern Wisconsin’s Trout Unlimited and the duo helped coordinate a recent effort – bringing in some extra able-bodied help in a river valley restoration maintenance project taking place – and continuing, approximately 6,5 miles north of Blanchardville in the “Kittleson Valley” region that’s near the Hwy H and Hwy 78 N intersection. [Read more…]

Mouse-eared Chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum)

This agricultural weed is originally from Eurasia. It is found across most of the United States on abandoned cultivated lands and, in our case, a prairie restoration in a once-cultivated field. It won’t tolerate plowing, but the seed must remain viable for several years.

The meaning of the species name is “common or generally accessible;” I prefer to take it more literally and call it “vulgar” as in offensive or indecent! The name “chickweed” comes from plants used as starter feed for chicks. [Read more…]

Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)

We recently bought an additional 20 acres and with it we inherited a large infestation of Spotted knapweed. I have seen a plant here and there in other areas of our 45 acres so I knew it was not contained and we had to deal with this immediately.  Much like I handled the research for the cool season grass and bindweeds, I did the same with this. Hopefully, this will help others who have problems with this invasive. [Read more…]

Bindweeds

We have discovered two types of bindweed in our plantings – Field bindweed (Convolvus arvensis) and Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium). This isn’t good news when some researchers have called Field bindweed the 12th and the 10th “worst weed in the world”. (Pfirter, Mitich) Field bindweed has the status of a serious weed in 14 countries and a problem weed in 19 countries. Both plants have the ability to vine up other plants as they grow; making it difficult to control without collateral damage. [Read more…]

Cool Season Grass Management

Cool season grasses, such as Smooth brome, Kentucky bluegrass, and Quackgrass are prevalent and wreak havoc on prairies. Their phenology gives them a competitive advantage in the spring but in the fall, the phenology works against them. As with many aspects of ecological restoration, you’ll find there isn’t adequate or definitive research. I have learned that the best way to deal with specific invasive issues is to learn everything I can about the plant, talk with other restoration practitioners, and then figure out a plan that works for my prairies in my area. To that end, I am sharing my initial research. As we move through the management plan, I’ll update this and provide our lessons learned in the hopes it will help others. Please feel free to provide any experiences you have had with managing cool season grasses. [Read more…]

Going “au naturale”

What is ecological restoration? Some define it as returning the land to pre-settlement conditions, which in Wisconsin is pre-1830. Some define it as unnecessary work because they believe that “nature knows best” and to just let “nature take its course.” If we are to preserve the biodiversity that remains on our planet, we need to expand our definition beyond these archaic and fantastical notions. Perhaps a better definition would be creating habitat that is useable and functional so that a diversity of biota are able to thrive. [Read more…]

Treating Canada Goldenrod – Follow Up

We did a cut and treat method in the fall of 2013 after the Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) had bloomed. It appeared to be successful after a weeks when we could see the plants were dying but the real test was what would happen a year later. You can check out the original blog post. [Read more…]