Sheep Hill Bluff Prairie

Sheep Hill Bluff Prairie started as an old field on the hillside below Sumac Prairie.  The name comes from the Rutschows, who called the bluff – which we call Sumac Bluff – Sheep Hill Bluff.

Here are photos and observations from each year, documenting some of the changes:
2023,   2022,   2021,   1930-2019

This is the oldest photo we have of the field – from about 1930 when it was part of the Rutschow’s dairy farm.


2002 – with the Sumac Prairie remnant above


The 4 acre field had typical ‘old field’ vegetation:  smooth brome, canada/tall goldenrod, raspberries, queen anne’s lace, and other weedy plants.  It had a few patches of native prairie plants: Sky Blue Asters along the eastern edge, and one small circle of Fragrant Cudweed.




We mowed it a few times, over those years, and cleared some of the dead trees that fell into it from the wooded edges.  I cut and treated some of the honeysuckle bushes, and we cut the little line of trees near the eastern edge – but left high stumps because it warns us of the sudden dropoff a little farther east..

In 2021 we decided to get serious about restoring it.  Mike mowed it in early August.


We had it sprayed with glyphosate in mid-September.


10/15/2021  I divided it into sections with stakes.


And planted it with prairie seeds during that winter.


September 2022   Weedy first summer prairie – with Queen Anne’s Lace and Black-eyed Susans


September 2023  After several mowings


9/25/2023  Drone view of Sumac Prairie (on the right), Sheep Hill Bluff Prairie (center), Maze and Farmhouse Meadows (left).