Make Tough Jobs Easy: Maintain Prairie Ecosystems (Video)
Maintaining complex prairie ecosystems is a breeze with mowing and controlled burning.
By Hank Will
There was a time when much of this country was covered with vast grasslands called prairies. Prairie ecosystems are a complex matrix of grasses, broadleaf forbs, vertebrate and invertebrate animals, fungi and bacteria. Complex and beautiful, these ecosystems offer forage and wildlife cover through the seasons and patchy bursts of color as the wildflowers explode.
Initial care and maintenance of prairie ecosystems is often the biggest challenge faced when rehabilitating your land. Mowing and controlled burning are the most effective ways to keep weeds under control and give native plants a chance to thrive. Mowing reduces completion for light and moisture while also keeping unwanted plants from going to seed. Burning releases nutrients, controls scrub brush and ground litter and also stimulates seed production of native species thus contributing to greater plant diversity.
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Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.