Knife Edge Prairie – 2021

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

This was a big year for the Knife Edge Prairie and the Knife Edge Point.  We did several big projects.  Here’s a sequence of photos from the year, and shorter before and after stories about each of the projects.

1/3/2021  Knife Edge Prairie


1/3/2021  Path on the point


1/12/2021  Looking up at the point


1/13/2021  Sandy part of the point


4/18/2021  Just after spring mowing


4/28/2021  Entrance to the prairie from the Cat’s Paw Prairie


5/9/2021  The area that Mike cleared and mowed last year


5/10/2021  The prairie


5/16/2021  Path along the point


7/7/2021  The prairie looking north


7/7/2021  Looking south




The first projects we worked on were around Bramble Corner – the place where the narrow part of the point meets the wider flat prairie area. This is Bramble Corner on 7/7/2021.

Mike worked south of Bramble Corner; I worked just north of it.  Our goal was to clear out small trees and brush on the top and as far down the west-facing slope as we could get.  The photo above shows the ‘before’ state of the brushy area that Mike was working on.

10/19/2021  This shows nearly the same view after Mike finished clearing.


10/17/2021  That same area looking north through the area Mike cleared toward Bramble Corner.


10/11/2021  This is the brushy area I worked on – just north of Bramble Corner – mostly honeysuckle, prickly ash and buckthorn.


10/19/2021  Now much of the brush is gone.


10/24/2021  A little farther north along that same edge – it had more honeysuckle and buckthorn, and several large piles of cut and fallen logs.


11/1/2021  Mike hauled the logs away with the tractor, and I cut the brush.


11/1/2021  We left some of the biggest logs as habitat for bugs and birds.


11/1/2021  I found two interesting areas under the brush – one had a thick ground cover of Pussytoes,


11/1/2021  and nearby the ground was covered with Wild Strawberries.  It will be interesting to see what these areas looks like next year, now that they get more sun.


I also worked on several parts of the flat open prairie area.  One section was getting overgrown by Gray Dogwood.



10/2/2021  This is after going through cutting and treating all the dogwood.


I’ve discovered that girdling small aspens doesn’t kill them but they do respond to cutting and treating with herbicide, as long as I do a fairly large area.    Aspen sprouts have been a problem in this prairie.

9/17/2021  This is an area with many aspen sprouts.


9/17/2021  And this is after I’d cut and treated them.


Mike moved on to work on the western edge of the flat part of the prairie – cutting and mowing an area that had many large buckthorns as well as other brush.

11/1/2021  The trees with pink marker tape are Burr Oaks and a Wild Plum that I want to keep.




11/9/2021  Mike discovered that it helped to have two tractors available – one with a bucket to carry cut logs and brush, and one with a mower.


11/9/2021  Mike’s project – after clearing and mowing


11/10/2021  Another view of his project


11/29/2021  Now we can see that cleared area from across the valley on Hidden Oaks Point.


I also cut and treated brush on the steep west facing slope at the end of the point.  It’s a sandy, fairly open slope, but had scattered sumacs, small honeysuckles, buckthorns and prickly ash.

9/5/2021  This shows the edges of the open area – with invading sumac.


9/5/2021  Here I’ve cut and treated the sumac in the middle, but haven’t gotten to the edges yet.  This middle area has many prairie plants including a large population of Spiked Lobelia (Lobelia spicata).


I also worked on a small area on the tip of the point.

9/1/2021  Before I’d done any clearing


10/4/2021  After clearing.  This is a south-facing slope that was being invaded by aspens.  I girdled the aspens several years ago, and they’re dead, but most haven’t fallen yet.


The last project I worked on – just before the snow came – was on the narrow part of the point.  The west-facing slope is very steep, and much of it is covered with brush but there are prairie plants growing under it.  The slope has honeysuckles, prickly ash and buckthorn mixed in with huge old American Bittersweet vines.  I protected the Bittersweet, but I cut and treated the brush in a strip parallel to the ridge, as far down the slope I could go before the weather stopped me.  Mike drove up right at the end and carried my piles away with the tractor.

11/8/2021  Before I started.  The west-facing slope is on the left.


11/29/2021  Some of my piles


11/29/2021  More piles, and more open places


11/3/2021  After cutting was done for the year, and the piles were gone.


12/7/2021  The snow arrived a few days later.