Back when there was pretty much just prairie around here….all around here…there was much more wildlife, including two kinds of buffalo: The regular four-legged kind of the American plains, Bison bison, and prairie wildfires, the ‘red bison’….both assured that prairie biomass would be quickly recycled into nutrients that all prairie life depended on….and especially into grasses. Today there’s neither bison or fire to cycle nutrients so trees and shrubs outcompete grasses and wildflowers. To simulate the bison, the prairie is periodically mowed and trees are cut.
Restoration of remnant prairies also includes removing invasive exotic species….primarily plants that weren’t around when prairies dominated the landscape. Invasive exotics take advantage of disturbances and may outcompete native prairie plants for resources. We’re always on the lookout for Johnson grass, King Ranch bluestem, scabiosa/pincushion plant and others.