Sumac Prairie 2011

[To see photos and stories of this prairie in other years, go to the links on the main Sumac Prairie page.]

1/2/2011 – the start of a new year.  This is one of the areas where Mike and I cleared brush last spring.


2/14/2011 – Sumac Prairie with melting snow cover.  Because Sumac Prairie is such a steep south-facing slope, it’s one of the first places where the snow melts in warm weather.  Then it snows again, melts again, and gets snowed on again.  I wonder if these harsh conditions – alternating heat, cold, wet, dry – play a part keeping this hillside a prairie.




2/16/2011   most of the snow is gone


3/15/2011   One month later.  There were several more snowstorms and melts during that month, but now it’s looking like spring is really coming.


3/16/2011  – I started working on clearing brush again.  This is the top of the eastern side – east of where The Prairie Enthusiasts worked.  It was a thicket of prickly ash and honeysuckle.


3/16/2011 – early morning mist rising from the sunny center of the prairie.  There’s still snow everywhere except on the bluff prairies.




4/4/2011  Now there’s a faint haze of green on the hillside.


4/23/2011  The Prairie Enthusiasts came for another work day.




4/23/2011  Here we are – the crew: Mike, Jim Schwarzmeier, Judy Schwarzmeier, Glen Fisher, Marcie


4/23/2011  Here’s the view of the area we worked on, seen from the road.  Those are our brush piles at the top on the left.


4/23/2011 – a zoomed in view


4/25/2011  Mike and I worked on moving the brush piles off the prairie, into the woods.  These were the piles we made with The Prairie Enthusiasts.


4/25/2011  – fewer piles


4/25/2011  These piles were from the fall Prairie Enthusiast project, and from some clearing that Mike and I did on our own.


4/29/2011 – the piles are gone




5/28/2011 – I worked on some of the steeper parts of the hillside – cutting and treating sumac.  This area was a sumac thicket before I started.


5/28/2011  – looking the other direction – across the former sumac thicket


5/28/2011 – Sand Cress – a small dry prairie native – is coming up in some of the areas that we cleared.


5/28/2011 – This is the area we cleared a month ago, with The Prairie Enthusiasts.


5/28/2011 – A slightly different view of the same area.


5/28/2011  This is an area Mike and I have been working on – clearing the dead trees, and cutting brush.


5/28/2011  – Spring view of an area that the Prairie Enthusiasts worked on last fall.


5/28/2011  View from the road – the area we cleared with The Prairie Enthusiasts this spring


5/28/2011  Sumac Prairie from the road


6/9/2011  This is the eastern end of Sumac Corner Prairie.  It still has a thick growth of birches and brush between it and the savanna below.

6-9-11 1


6/9/2011  The point of Sumac Corner Prairie – looking down through girdled birches.

6-9-11 2


I haven’t been up on the prairie all summer – it was a hot summer and because the prairie is so steep and south-facing, it’s unbearably hot in mid-summer.

8/28/2011 – This is a slope I worked on last spring – clearing sumac.  Parts of it are pretty clear – toward the center – but the edges have grown back.


8/28/2011 – The area that the Prairie Enthusiasts did last fall.  The nice thing about this sumac is that it’s small – so it’s easy to cut and treat.


8/28/2011 – The center of the slope is looking better.


8/28/2011  The area that The Prairie Enthusiast crew worked on last spring.  I wasn’t sure how well a spring project would work – there’s debate about how successful spring treatment of cut stumps is.  But this seems to have worked fine – the plants growing up are mostly raspberries, goldenrod, and White Snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum).  Hopefully, with some mowing, and more sunlight, these weedy natives will give way to savanna species.


8/28/2011  More of the cleared area.  There was quite a lot of burdock, which I cut and removed so it wouldn’t spread its seeds.




8/28/2011 – I refound a flower I haven’t seen here in many years.  I first found it in 2000 – the first summer we were here.  Then it disappeared, and today it reappeared.  It’s an annual, and it grows in the  steepest, hottest, sandiest parts of the prairie.

Rough False Foxglove


9/4/2011  I came up with the gator and collected all the burdock seeds.

9-4-11 burdock



9-25-11 1


10/9/2011  Another group of Prairie Enthusiasts came back and helped cut more brush – Me, Mike, Kathy, Joanne, and Lee.

10-9-11 tpe crew


10/10/2011  This is the grove of small Burr Oaks that Kathy and Lee worked on.  They cleared under the tree.

10-10-11 1


10/10/2011  Mike and Joanne and I cut and treated stumps and piled brush in the savanna just at the edge of Sumac Corner Prairie.

10-10-11 2


10/11/2010  After we removed the piles, we could see through to Sumac Corner Prairie.

10-11-11 1


10/11/2011  The oak woods

10-11-11 2


10/11/2011  Mike hauling brush back to our brush pile

10-11-11 moving piles


10/17/2011  I cut the rest of the sumac at the edge of the big prairie.

10-17-11 1



12-4-11 1



12-29-11 1 oaks