Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring migrants at Jerry's Pond

 I borrowed some seeds from the bottomland restoration and planted them around our cattle ponds, including Jerry's Pond, pictured here.   While I was planting, spring migrants were feeding--a pair of blue-winged teal yesterday (March 28, 2013), and a greater yellowlegs today.  The cattle have been excluded from the ponds now, so the seeds will have a chance to sprout and grow.   Perhaps the vegetation will help the ponds become even more nourishing to wildlife!

Monday, March 25, 2013

3. Restoring Bottomland Prairie 3: The Wetland Holds Water!

The snow storm this weekend is turning into
water in the wetland!

The kildeer at right is hopefully the first
of many shorebirds to follow!


2. Restoring Bottomland Prairie 2: Planting the Downslope Mix

Al Alspach plants the downslope portion of the Creek Field

On Thursday, March 20, 2013, we were ready to plant the Creek Field back to native!  The Creek Field slopes down from south to north, where it drains into McDowell Creek at the northern edge of the field.  Therefore, the northern part of the field is the "downslope" area and is wetter than the southern part.   We chose species that wouldn't mind wet feet for the downslope area.  We also planted the wetland areas with this mix.  The seed mix we used is as follows:
Al used a seed drill to do the planting.

Downslope Mix
These species were seeded on March 20-21, 2013:
Asclepias syriaca                     Common Milkweed
Astragaluis Canadensis          Canada Milkvetch
Bidens aristosa                        Showy Beggar Ticks
Coreopsis tinctoria                  Plains Coreopsis
Desmanthus illinoensis           Illinois Bundleflower
Dracopsis amplexicaulis         Clasping Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea                Purple Coneflower
Gaillardia pulchella                 Indian Blanket
Helianthus grosseserratus      Saw-toothed Sunflower
Helianthus tuberosus              Jerusalem Artichoke
Monarda fistulosa                   Mint-leaf Bee Balm
Penstemon grandiflorus         Large Beardtongue
Physostegia virginiana            Obedient Plant
Silphium integrifolium             Rosinweed
Trandescantia ohioensis         Ohio Spiderwort
Verbena hastata                      Blue Vervain
Zizia aurea                                Golden Alexanders

 Tripsacum dactyloides            Eastern Gammagrass

Hand-picked seed acquired from Jeff Hansen, Kansas Native Plants, planted March 17-April 2, 2013, with the exception of Asclepias tuberosa and Amorpha fruticosa, seeds picked by Margy elsewhere on Bird Runner:

Agastache nepetoides           Yellow Giant Hyssop
Amorpha fruticosa                  False Indigo
Asclepias incarnata                 Swamp Milkweed
Asclepias sullivanti                  Sullivant’s Milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa                  Butterfly Milkweed
Bidens polylepsis                     Bur Marigold
Cassia marilandica                  Maryland Senna
Helenium autumnale              Sneezeweed
Heliopsis helianthus                False Sunflower(helianthoides)
Liatris pycnostachya               Thickspike Gayfeather
Lobelia cardinalis                    Cardinal Flower

Saturday, March 23, 2013

1. Restoring Bottomland Prairie 1: From Corn to Native Plants

Native seeds will be planted right in the corn stubble.
Lined with a riparian buffer, McDowell Creek is behind the trees!
     We are seeding our cornfield back to native.   We call it the Creek Field, a 30 acre expanse of bottomground along McDowell Creek.  Our strategy is forbs-first.   Our experience with restorations so far, on our field buffers and in an old brome field, is that over time the grasses push out the forbs.   Other prairie-restorers have had this same experience--biodiversity decreases over time.  
This time we will give the forbs a headstart. We will plant them first and grasses only later.  

The Creek Field, looking southwest (upslope).