Tools and Practices for Native Prairie and Oak/Hickory Savanna Habitat Restoration
Opportunities to Share:
Native Prairie/Savanna Seed Swap & Share:
Some OWLS have large quantities of excess native seed on their restored acreages!! Any one interested in swapping, sharing, or obtaining native seeds? If so, please contact Tom at: RedBison62@yahoo.com
Garlon 4 Ultra herbicide, is used in Oak Savanna Restoration. Winter is a prime time for cutting and applying herbicide to undesirable exotics, invasives, and tree stumps in Oak Savannas/Woodland restorations. In the past, Garlon has been quite expensive for one individual, and also results in excess left over.
However, Remedy Ultra (i.e. Garlon 4) is now available at the Dodgeville Agri Coop in 1 Gallon Containers for $74.00. Remedy Ultra is the same as Garlon 4 (60.5% Triclopyr Butoxyethyester).
The other herbicides most commonly used in Prairie Reconstruction/Restoration include:
Roundup: Also sold as "Cornerstone +. Used for seedbed preparation to eliminate turf grass and weeds.
Poast: A selective grass herbicide to set back cool season grasses. It does not kill native grasses but will prevent seed production during the applied growing season.
Contact Tom if you have any questions at: RedBison62@yahoo.com
Prairie and Savannah Restoration Tools and Techniques:
Tractors: Prairie "reconstruction" seedbed preparation (via herbicide and cover crops), native planting (broadcast or no-till), mowing (brush hog or flail mowers), and harvest (pull type combines or specialized native seed harvesters)
Adjustable Height Mowers (PTO driven driven brush hogs, etc): Weed control during prairie establishment, firebreak establishment, management, continued weed control along prairie borders/buffers including roadside right-of-ways.
Chain saws: Prairie edges and Savanna management
Brush saws/cutters: woodland/savanna firebreaks, and control of woody invasives
Safety Equipment: Helmets, Chaps, Gloves, Safety Glasses, Respirators.
Herbicides: See above and photos below. Used to manage non-natives, invasives, and establish seedbeds for Prairie and Oak Savanna Restoration
Planting Equipment: Broadcast seeders (John Deere LF/Ezee Flow drop spreaders, LandPride style rotary broadcasters) and No-Till Truax or Great Plains planters.
Prairie Harvesting equipment: Old style pull combines, or specialized native seed harvesters.
Drip Torches and Back Cans: Used for "Controlled" Prescribed burns, and creation of "burned-in" firebreaks.
Practical Techniques for Prairie Restoration: See Prairie Reconstruction tab (Slideshow)
Photos of Common Native Landscape Restoration Tools and Techniques:
Basic Tools for controlled burns and fire break preparations. Large Stihl brushcutter is excellent for brush removal when creating firebreaks. Multiple heads for woody or grassy applications can be attached. Drip torch and water back cans for prescribed burns and firebreak establishment. Chaps, helmet, gloves, harness.
Garlon 4, also sold as Remedy Ultra, is used to treat undesirable woody exotics and invasives during oak woodland, savanna, and prairie restorations. Undesirable woody plants can be treated via "cut stump" or basal bark treatment. The herbicide is typicall diluted with Diesel fuel and a dye is added to help identify treated stumps. Winter can be ideal if snow accumulation in minimal. Treatment is effective during the dormant season.
A small sloping field sprayed with round-up herbicide in preparation for a no-till planting. Typically round-up ready soybeans are planted for a couple years to remove unwanted weed competition before installing a native planting. Removing all weed competition is essential to a successful prairie reconstruction.
Vintage Drop Spreaders have become the implement of choice for late Fall dormant prairie plantings. They can handle bulk harvested material from existing prairie restoration plantings on prepared sites. This eliminates the need for expensive nursery processed seed. Larger scale prairie restorations can become a reality for landowners on a budget. Drop spreading for plantings on soybean/corn stubble fields has become the planting technique of choice for the Nature Conservancy in Nebraska and Iowa.
Cultipacking is essential on new native prairie plantings! This is especially true for broadcast plantings where seed is dropped or rotary broadcast. Fall is the best time for native plantings, allowing the winter freeze thaw cycle to break dormancy in native forb seeds and work surface seed into the soil.
Brush hogs are a necessity for preparing firebreaks. They are also essential early in the prairie restoration process (first 2 -3 years) for mowing down competing aggressive weeds that would shade out new native seedlings. Mowing height is raised each year to prevent damage to natives. By the 3rd to 4th year only spot mowing should be required.
Firebreak establishment can be either permanent or established prior to overall prescribed burn. In this case, their are plans to integrate prairie restoration into oak woodland/savanna restoration. Therefore, mowing a permanent break during the growing season is undesirable because of potential weed & cool season grass introduction along this woodland prairie edge.