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Restoration Techniques, & Commonly Found Prairie Plants Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Garden.

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Presentation on theme: "Restoration Techniques, & Commonly Found Prairie Plants Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Garden."— Presentation transcript:


2 Restoration Techniques, & Commonly Found Prairie Plants Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Garden

3 Introduction  Midwestern Ecosystems  Invasive Species  Control Techniques  Commonly Found Prairie Species  Rare Prairie Species

4 Perspective  Restoration  Reconstruction  Rehabilitation  Tallgrass Prairie-intermixed with Savanna and Woodland.  10,000 years in the making  Through fire both natural and lit  Modern threats

5 Midwestern Ecosystems  Tallgrass Prairie (less than1% left in Illinois)  Oak Savanna  Oak Woodland  Forest  Wetlands  The prairie forest continuum  Wetland and upland part of this continuum

6 Tall Grass Prairie  Dominant Grasses  Big Bluestem  Switch Grass  Indian Grass  Dominant Forbs  Compass Plant  Prairie Dock  Cone Flowers  Fire Dependency  Essential to keeping the prairies open




10 Oak Savanna  Prairie Wood Interface  Bur Oaks the dominant tree  Fire Dependent  Canopy level approx 10%


12 Oak Woodland  Canopy cover between 30% and 50%  More shade tolerant species  Presence of fire in open woodlands prevents ashes and sugar maples taking over

13 Forest  Traditionally located where fires are restricted along river edges and moraines  More maple dominant then oak dominant  Fires are more rare  Forests traditionally somewhat rare in the native landscape of Illinois  Encroachment of the Eastern Forests  Forest canopy cover typically 80% plus

14 Wetlands  Marsh  Sedge Meadow  Wet Prairie  Bog  Fen  Flat wood  Most are fire dependent

15 Invasive Species  What is an invasive species?

16 Invasive Species “non indigenous species or strains that become established in natural plant communities and wild areas and replace native vegetation.” The Invasive Plant Association of Wisconsin

17 Teasel Dipsacus spp Two species Common (Purple flowered) Cut Leaved (White Flowers) Biennial Introduced for combing wool Grows as basal rosette for one year Flowers, produces seed and dies Seed can remain viable for several years

18 Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) Planted for forage and erosion control since 1800s Can invade most types of wetlands Seeds germinate immediately at maturation Spread by seed and rhizomes

19 Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica, frangula) Orange bark Oval leaves Thorn and the buck Very prolific Seed spread via birds Shades out understory Forms monocultures

20 Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) Planted originally as a n ornamental Forms dense stand in wetland areas Chokes out waterways Crowds out natives No natural predators 80,000 stalks per acre have been recorded

21 Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp) Four species of honeysuckle excluding hybrids Shade out understory Readily spread by birds eating berries Cut stump will resprout Flowering Winter Bark

22 Garlic Mustard (Allaria petiolata) Rosette coloniesMaturing plant Introduced by early settlers for use in cooking and medicine Biennial spreads into disturbed area and high quality areas

23 Restoration Techniques

24 Burn Notice  Fires are the dominant driving force behind the prairie /savanna/woodland complex  Fire Suppression is a key factor in de- gradation of local ecosystems  Fires help control invasive plant species  10,000 years of burns have created some of the rarest habitats seen in the world today

25 Physical Control  Removal  Cutting  Sawing  Dragging  Raking

26 Chemical Control  Essential where fire is suppressed and beneficial where fire is used.  Selective  Non selective  Glyphosate Roundup  Trclopyr Garlon  Many others

27 Woody Control  Cut stump treatment  20% glyphosate soln (water mix)  12.5% triclopyr soln (basal bark oil)  Chemical girdling  Basal bark application 12.5% triclopyr/oil mix  Only when bark is still smooth  Girdling  Cutting with saw or axe a ring around the base of the trunk, approx 2” wide, applying herbicide to this area helps.  Brush piles  When the ground is frozen or with snow on the ground  Chainsaw/Brush Cutter/Bush Hog

28 Non Woody Control  Invasive grasses/forbs  Spot treatment with 2% glyphosate  Common Reed requires handwicking at 50% glyphosate soln  Cutting plants before they go to seed  Physical removal -essential to remove all root especially those with rhizomes

29 Planting  Seeding Over seeding Interseeding Spraying, tilling, seeding Burn then seed Seeds need to touch dirt  Plugging Straight into plant matrix Plug hole

30 Management  Mow method  Burn Method  Combined  Watering rarely required  Spot spray  3 to 5 years for new seedlings to establish

31 Commonly Found Prairie Plants

32 Prairie Grasses  Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)  Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)  Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepsis)  Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans)  Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum)  Prairie Cord Grass (Spartina pectinata)  Side Oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)

33 Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) Also known as turkey Foot Quintessential prairie plant Dry to wet sites Dominant in mesic sites Used by Native American to treat digestive problems

34 Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) Characteristic plant of the tall grass prairie Reaches 4’ tall Small Found predominantly mesic sites but also drier sites

35 Prairie Dropseed (Sporobulus heterolepsis) Characteristic of mesic prairies Characterized by dense tufts of long, very narrow leaves which are rolled slightly Flower heads have pungent waxy aroma

36 Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans) Flowering at 7’ tall Occurs as dense tufts or single stands Rapid colonizer Common throughout the tallgrass region

37 Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum) Common through out the tall grass region Found in wet to mesic and drier sites Can become very dominant

38 Prairie Cord Grass (Spartina pectinata) Very sharp edges leaves Sometimes called ripgut Has been used for thatching and fuel

39 Side Oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) Very distinctive Low grass 3’ Flower clusters form in rows along one side of the upper stem Prefers well drained prairies

40 Canada Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis) Common along prairie edges 3-5’ tall Moist to mesic sites Seeds were used as food by Native Americans

41 Prairie Forbs  Compass Plant (Siphium lacinatum)  Praire Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum)  Asters (Asteraceae)  Boneset (Eupatorium spp)  Coneflowers (Echinacea spp)  Blazing Stars (Liatris spp)  Goldenrods (Solidago spp)  Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp)  Milkweeds (Asclepsis spp)  Vervain (Verbena spp)  Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)  Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)  Prairie Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum)

42 Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) Striking member of the silphium group Flower very similar to prairie dock Leaves main distinguishing characteristic Named for the way it follows the sun Dried sap was used as chewing gum

43 Prairie Dock (Siphium terebinthinaceum) Fowers very similar to compass plant Leaves wide and rough Also orient themselves towards the sun

44 New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae) Commonly grown Has some weedy tendencies Wet to mesic prairies

45 Tall Boneset (Eupatorium altissimum) Common in dry upland prairies More common in areas with history of disturbance

46 Coneflowers (Echinacea spp) Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Often used as an ornamental Blooms from spring to fall Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida) Roots sometimes used for herbal medicines Ilegal rooting is a threat

47 Blazing Stars (Liatris spp) Six commonly found species of liatris Prairie Marsh Dotted Cylindrical Rough Scaly Dotted blazing star underparts was used as a food of last resort for native americans Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)

48 Goldenrods (Solidago spp) Showy (Solidago speciosa)Early (Solidago juncea) Tall (Solidago altisima)

49 Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp) 4 common species Large flowered Sand Prairie Tall Prefers drier prairies Upland sites Sand Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)

50 Milkweeds (Asclepsis spp) Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) Known for attracting butterflies Roots of tuberosa have been used as foods by Native Americans Approx 14 commonly found species found on the prairie Regular milkweed host plant for monarchs

51 Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) Member of the mint family Fairly common species though out the tall grass region Also known as beebalm

52 Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium) Striking plant a member of the parsley family Plant leaves resemble yucca leaves Fairly common among prairies

53 Prairie Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) Common throughout the tallgrass region Native Americans used the fiber for ropes and nets


55 Restoration Resources  The tallgrass restoration handbook  Chicago Wilderness Atlas of Biodiversity  The prairie of the Illinois country  A natural history of the Chicago region

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