Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Soil Testing and Restoration

This is a guest blog written by Beau Larkin and Ylva Lekberg. Jim and I were excited they chose our property as one of their research sites.

Often prairie restoration is to change agricultural fields into native prairie habitat. We can evaluate progress by comparing the restored plant community to a remnant prairie. It is relatively easy to measure this with plant communities, but this does not reveal what has happened belowground. [Read more…]

Seed Sourcing for Restoration in a Changing Climate

I had the opportunity to attend a Seed Sourcing Symposium at the Chicago Botanic Gardens on June 13. It was an important meeting and just the beginning of a very important discussion. The meeting moved from historical aspects of seed sourcing to current day projects to needed future actions. As promised, the day led to more questions than answers. I was surprised to learn organizations, government entities, and large institutions were focusing and directing resources to this topic. I’ll provide some highlights from the speakers. Check out the Native Seed and Plant Sourcing paper for indepth information on this topic.  [Read more…]

Think Like a Seed

Our management plan is simple: remove the invasives and increase diversity. One way we increase diversity is by propagating plants and planting them into various areas. How many we plant out in a year varies. It depends on my success rate at getting the native seed to germinate and then how many plants survived the overwintering process. Every year is different. [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…]

Monitoring and Management—a sensible pairing

This article was written by Beth Goeppinger, WI DNR Naturalist at Richard Bong State Recreation Area. It demonstrates how important monitoring is to our management practices. [Read more…]

Savanna Prairie Planting

Whew!! It’s been 2 years of preparing and planning but the last 12 acres were finally planted on Dec 13, 2014!! This is our third and last planting for the Driftless Prairies! We had hoped this one would go smoothly since the other two did not, but our record remained and we had plenty of stress! [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…]

Seeds of Discovery

Seeds are fabulous fascinating aspects of flowers. There are no two alike, even among similar genera. They vary in size, shape, color, transportation method, germination method, and the list can go on. They are an important life source for plants, birds, insects, and mammals. With such an important element, why don’t we know more about what the seeds of the Driftless Area look like? [Read more…]

Collecting and Cleaning Seeds

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only is the weather cooling off and the trees are turning into beautiful, vibrant, autumn colors, it’s seed collecting time!!! I love, love, love seed collecting. There’s something purifying and cathartic about the process; maybe it’s in knowing that I’m spreading the “prairie love” by gathering some of the fruits of previous restoration efforts and giving them life in new restoration efforts. Maybe it’s because seed collecting is quiet work, unlike the summer of chain sawing and brush cutting. Whatever the case, it’s rewarding and gratifying work. [Read more…]

Effective Treatment Method for Canada Goldenrod

Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) is a native to Wisconsin but isn’t considered a highly prized prairie plant. Its Coefficient of Conservatism is a 1; making it, essentially a glorified weed. [Read more…]