Take a walk with me through the prairie......

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by Native Hunter, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    First of all, this is not a property tour thread. It about plants that grow in a prairie. Most of you are aware that I manage roughly 60 acres of NWSGs and forbs on my farm. I'm going to start a thread using some old pictures, pictures I took this spring, and some pictures I plan to take through this year to show some of the various plants (both good and bad) that grow there.

    I will add new pictures and verbiage every few days off and on as time allows. Feel free to interject your own thoughts as well.

    The focus of this thread will be:
    • The pictures and identifying features of various plants that grow in my prairie. On one short walk the other day, I identified over 50 different plants, so that should keep up busy for a while.
    • I will also interject some information about the value of the different plants for deer and other wildlife.
    When we look at a prairie, we normally just see the tall plants like Big Bluestem, Canada Goldenrod and others that reach for the stars - but there is a whole other world down low near the ground. Many of those low growing plants are very beneficial to deer and other wildlife. Some may be visible early in the year - but hidden later on as the tall grasses and forbs shoot up. Let’s start out by just looking at some pictures from the past before we start delving into the nuts and bolts of this thread

    So, come…..take a walk with me through the prairie……

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    Let’s stop for a rest before we continue on our walk….more to come in a few days.
     
    Jack Terpack, dogghr, KSQ2 and 7 others like this.
  2. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Those pictures show a great deer garden Steve. I am looking forward to learning about the many plants shown and seeing even more of it.
     
    Native Hunter likes this.
  3. Heart shot

    Heart shot Member

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    Awesome idea for thread! Can’t wait to read more.
     
    Native Hunter likes this.
  4. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Could you turn this into a weekly radio show and call it "A Prairie Habitat Companion"?
     
    Native Hunter likes this.
  5. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    If you are willing to pay me I will.....:D
     
  6. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    No, this pays you. You would be as wealthy as Garrison Keillor, about a hunderd seventy thousand a year. Wait. That means you would be taking a pay cut to do the show...
     
  7. BenAllgood

    BenAllgood Active Member

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    I'll walk along. This seems like it's going to be a good learning experience. A couple pre questions. What percentage of grass to forbs do you have? If you had a chance to do it all over, would you make any adjustments or changes? Thanks Steve for doing this. It will help me with my knowledge of plants in the area. I think taking inventory is one of the first things anyone managing land should do.
     
    Native Hunter likes this.
  8. Triple C

    Triple C Well-Known Member

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    I"m along for the walk. Great idea for a thread!
     
    Native Hunter likes this.
  9. BoneCrusher20

    BoneCrusher20 Active Member

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    i'll be along for the walk...looking to turn some portions of ag fields into what you got going on here, willing to trade little bit of valuable ag crops that benefit only deer to something that benefits all wildlife out there.
     
    Native Hunter likes this.
  10. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    I can't talk as soft as Garrison...….
     
  11. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Ben, glad you are tagging along. I hope this thread is a lot of help to you starting your prairie.

    I would say overall 60% grass and 40% forbs. If I was starting all over I would plant more Switchgrass and less Big Bluestem. I don't dislike Big Bluestem, but it will go down a little easier in the snow and in some low areas. It actually stands really good though gun season and sometimes well into the winter. I wouldn't eliminate it, but I would just put in more switchgrass.

    Another thing I would do is not plant species that I know will not be able to survive and compete. They had me to include a grass called Side Oats Grama. It had completely disappeared within two years. Virginia Wild Rye is another grass that can't compete with the big boys. I still see just a little of it, but it is essentially gone. Illinois Bundleflower is another one. It's a great plant, but it doesn't seem to like our part of the country. Instead of planting these, we could have put more seed in the mix of desirable species that could compete.

    Finally, getting a good kill is extremely important. I spent the first year driving around spraying Ironweed and Poke Weed. If I hadn't done that, they would be the dominant species now.
     
    BenAllgood likes this.
  12. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Before you start Native, could you mow down all those "weeds" that are blocking my view keeping me from seeing what you are talking about?? :rolleyes: Good thread for sure.
     
  13. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    You are a total mess boy....;)

    I can't remember if I told you this story, but my uncle helped me build the tower blind. His wife came with him one day, and it was late summer when the grasses had bolted, and here she stood in a mowed circle about 40 foot radius and not able to see anything but the mowed trail they drove in on. He said she stood there a minute and just stared. Then she said, "Boy, he really needs to do some mowing...."
     
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  14. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Thats funny. Kinda like deer guys cutting down mature mast producing trees that took 40 years to get to prime in order to improve deer food.
     
    Native Hunter likes this.
  15. Hoosierhunting

    Hoosierhunting Well-Known Member

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    First question, what Wildlife Institute B.O.B seed mix is that?


    Sent from my iPhone using Deer Hunter Forum
     
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  16. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    My get rich quick scheme is working............that is the Native Hunter BOB Mix. It has special ingredients that can be found nowhere else. You are so lucky, because I'm running a sale today....;)
     
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  17. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Maybe start with a list of what seeds you planted to get started?
     
  18. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    I will discuss that as we go along, but some of the best plants came from the seed bank rather than being planted. I spotted them as the new prairie was developing and with spot spraying got rid of undesirable nearby plants like ironweed and gave them room early on to establish well. More to come soon.
     
  19. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    The switch was there before you started?
     
  20. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    No, the switchgrass was part of the planting. None of the important warm season grasses were already there, but a high percentage of the important forbs came out of the seedbank. As I discuss different plants in this thread, I will bring up whether or not they were planted or if they came out of the seedbank.

    One thing a person can do is to kill fescue and just see what plants emerge. In some locations, you may get everything you would want without having to do any planting. There is a web page out there by Dr. Craig Harper about "Old Field Management" that discusses this. Do a Google search and you should find it.
     

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