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:
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