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Starting 2nd year of prairie resotration and some problem areas

Posted by rollie 4b (My Page) on
Mon, May 11, 09 at 18:12

I have 2 1/2 acres of short grass prairie and lots of forbs that was put in last march. I mowed religiously last year and for the most part, this area really looks good, with the exception of the clover from my yard moving out inot the restoration project. It started out about 3 feet into the area last year, and is now about 7-8 feet. How can I stop this from taking over my restoration project? Just the thought of spraying it with all of the existing forbs that are there, makes my stomach ill, but its too big to do anything by hand. I need to get it stopped, or its going to take over, I'm afraid.

I also have another plot (3a) of tall grass prairie, that was a meadow in a grove and had brome in it. I killed the brome and disced up the roots. I then planted Roundup ready soybeans in this area 2 years ago, so I could take care of the majority of the seedbank. We seeded the tall grass prairie at the same time as the short grass mentioned earlier, but it has no forbs. In this old meadow, the plant of the day for now, seems to be nettles, or itchweed as I called it as a kid, and bunch of big thistles.

I started spading the thistles with a dandylion spade this weekend, and got discouraged after about 5 hours out there and not gaining much ground.

Im pretty sure that I can take care of the nettles with the mower, just prior to it going to seed.

I could use chemical on this area, because it is grasses only, and no forbs.

Anyone have any ideas, before I go off and do something Ill regret.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Starting 2nd year of prairie resotration and some problem are

Thank you! Your restoration is gorgeous. I can only hope! Ive been working on it religiously and have moved towards some 24d style herbicides, but may need to make the move to a glysophate for the thistles, much like you did.

The 24d product is slowing the clovers somewhat, so that gives me some hope that I will be able to gain back the ground they now occupy.

Your story is alot like ours, city folks buy 10 acres, and want to raise weeds. lol.

Heres our acreage, I need to update it a bit with some prairie photos, although I dont have much to show just yet.

Here is a link that might be useful: New Farm

RE: Starting 2nd year of prairie resotration and some problem are

Country gardener, I loved the link about controlling the thistle.

May I borrow that to hand out for some of my native workshops. Its great to share "other" people's experiences...

I have to say even though it costs over a thousand dollars for you to burn, if you are doing it every 5 years... that adds up to about $200 per year. I bet lots of people spend more than that on mowing, gas, oil, fertilizers, pesticides to maintain a lawn that same size.

RE: Starting 2nd year of prairie resotration and some problem are

Well, I thought I would offer an update.

Things are progressing nicely as long as I do the hand work that needs to be done. I have spent the last week working on thistles. Some with chemical, where they are thickest, but mostly I am hand pulling them. Actually, they pull rather readily at this point in the season. If you can get the bulk of the tap root, then, that thistle is a goner.

The clover is still invasive, but I have decided to fight the thistle battle instead, because I think I can take care of the clover next year with my first burn in April.

Heres some pictures from a few days after my inital postings.

Ive chosen not to tackle the dandylions at this point in time either, because fire will take them out and they will get choked out eventually.

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