Work: winter mowing

Posted: January 1st, 2009 under Activities, Equipment, Land.
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The remnant pocket prairie in the creek woods that we call the “entrance meadow (it’s almost enclosed by woods and is the formal entrance to the thickest part of them)  was for the first six years the best seed bank we had of original native plants.  Little bluestem, Indiangrass, sideoats grama, Maximilian sunflower, pitcher sage, Illinois basketflower, brown-eyed Susan, gayfeather, and others are all found in this small area.  Now that we have established other seed-source areas, we’re not as dependent on it, but we still want to maintain it as a pocket prairie, not let it be overgrown with greenbriar, cedar elm, roughleaf dogwood.

So, every winter, I mow it, on the highest setting the small mower can give (the large mower won’t even get into it.)    Today was a good day for that, so today I got it done.   I don’t try to break down  all the tall stalks of the forbs (that takes repeated passes)  but do try to knock them about and cut the grass at about 4.5 inches.   “About” because it’s not absolutely level.  In the scheme of things, this counts as “habitat management.”

On the way back, I mowed one of the work trails (useful for censusing grassland birds, among other things.)

Other work today (some done by R-) included checking all the wildlife waterers and putting out feed for migrant birds.  That, of course, falls under “supplemental water” and “supplemental feeding.”

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