[To see photos and stories of this prairie in other years, go to the links on the main Western Prairie page.]
2007 was the second summer for the southern third of Western Prairie. It looked pretty good – lots of flowering prairie plants, and not too many weeds.
The biggest weed problem was Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) – the plants remind me of saguaros in the desert.
The barn swallows use the Mullein stalks as perches.
I hate taking away their perches, but I really don’t want the Mullein to take over. So I spent a week or two clipping and removing the seed stalks, and dabbing the cut stalks with roundup. It was very labor intensive, but worked well.
Field Thistle (Cirsium discolor) – a native thistle that grows well in planted prairies.
The prairie in the middle third of Western Prairie was in its first summer. We mowed it every few weeks, all summer.
March – as the snow was melting.
May – with dandelions
June – with Hawk’s Beard (Crepis tectorum) – an annual weed that likes first year planted prairies. (It doesn’t seem to cause any problems later on.)
July – mowed, with a mowed path
The line between the middle, first year prairie (mowed), and the southern, second year prairie.
This is the year we finished planting the last of our cropped fields. The last 20 acres we did was the northernmost part of Western Field – now Western Prairie.
Clif didn’t plant it this year, so we kept this section mowed, and then had it sprayed with roundup at the end of the summer.
This is the way it looked during the summer.
Since we wanted to do some traveling this winter, we planted it with a seed drill instead of by hand. Here’s Mike planting in late November.