Prairie reconstruction

Prairie reconstruction involves taking former farmland and planting it to a mix of native prairie grasses and flowers, referred to as forbs.

Because the ground has been farmed for decades, it takes a few last industrial processes to help it get back to health. One is to spray the entire area with glyphosate, an herbicide that goes inert after 2 days, but helps tamp down the weeds while giving the native seeds a chance to take root. Then comes the seed drill to plant the seed which is particularly light and requires a special drill. Then as the plants grow, we must mow the first few seasons. The mowing is our best imitation of grazing, and it keeps the native plants from getting overshadowed, literally, by the weeds that eventually spring up. After two or three years of that, it’s time to burn, also imitating the conditions under which the prairie flourished hundreds of years ago. Burning brings out the best in native prairie, and within months it’s blossoming all over again.