After our last post on prairie restoration and why it is important, we thought it would be helpful to let the StMU community know exactly what we are doing to restore the patch of land we have selected on campus.
The land we are working on, because of its location on a slope, is a dry area with a lot of bare patches of ground. Luckily, due to the dry conditions, weeds are manageable, mostly consisting of smooth brome grass. Some native species, which are hardier to inhospitable land, have also inhabited the site. Because these native species are small, most still seedlings, we must be delicate when working in the area.
To minimize the disruption of these plants during restoration, we have been slowly removing the weeds by hand. We have also filled in some of the bare areas, by planting seedlings of other species native to the area – blue flax, harebell, stiff sunflower, and prairie crocus, as well as three species of native grass. We also have seeded native grasses, including sandgrass and a mix of wheatgrasses.
If you walk along the edge of the site, delineated by the orange and yellow flags, you might be able to see some of these plants, and the signs we put up to help identify them – just be careful not to step on any! We will be monitoring the new additions carefully throughout the summer, and with good luck, they will persist for years to come.