Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

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…]

Queen Anne’s Lace

It seems that Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) (QAL) is blooming early this year. Maybe with the wet spring, it got a head start, too. Either way, Jim and I have spent several hours a day for several days pulling this aggressive, weedy, non-native plant. [Read more…]

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

The bane of woodlands!!! This nasty little invasive has the ability to takeover a woodland area with a “take no prisoners” approach. When we purchased our land in 2005, which included 3 acres of woods, there was a near monoculture of garlic mustard. We began in earnest to rid our woods of this even though “eradicate” and “garlic mustard” are never used in the same sentence. [Read more…]