Friends of Nachusa Grasslands PrairiE-Update
What We Do at Nachusa Grasslands
Clearing and Weeding
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One of the goals of the Friends of Nachusa Grasslands is to conduct and encourage stewardship at Nachusa Grasslands.  This PrairiE-Update on Clearing and Weeding is the third installment in our "What We Do at Nachusa Grasslands" series.
A Honeysuckle-Infested Woodland
According to the Nature Conservancy, “Invasive species damage the lands and waters that native plants and animals need to survive.  They hurt economies and threaten human well-being.  The estimated damage from invasive species worldwide totals more than $1.4 trillion – five percent of the global economy” 

At Nachusa Grasslands, aggressive invasive species are removed to allow our prairie and savanna plants to flourish.  If left unchecked, the invasives will multiply rapidly, choking out the native fauna.
King Devil

Plants we control at Nachusa include trees, shrubs, and vines – buckthorn, autumn olive, Asian bush honeysuckle, and multiflora rose; as well as weeds and grasses – white and yellow sweet clover, Canada thistle, king devil, reed canary grass, wild parsnip, birdsfoot trefoil, and Queen Anne’s lace.
Asian Honeysuckle and Multi-Flora Rose

Invasive species are introduced to an area in many different ways, either on purpose or by accident. Birdsfoot trefoil, for example, is planted as cattle forage.  Asian honeysuckle has been used in landscaping and is spread by birds.  Other non-indigenous plants move to different places clinging to tires, shoes, or animals.
Brush clearing usually takes place in the late fall, winter, and spring:
  • Felling trees with chainsaws by trained sawyers
  • Loppering branches and shrubs
  • Girdling trees to cut off their water supply
  • Applying herbicide as needed
  • Dragging limbs and vines to brush piles
  • Burning brush piles when conditions permit
Weeding is most intense from May to August:
  • Pulling, digging, clipping, or herbiciding plants, depending on the species
  • Carefully applying small amounts of herbicide when necessary to prevent reprouts
  • Hauling refuse away from the area if reseeding could occur
Brush Clearing
Safety and effective management practices are always considered when clearing brush or weeding. Several protocols established to protect our workers and eco-system are followed by all staff members, stewards, and other volunteers.
Discussing Weed Management
Chainsaw Training
The Goal -- A Stunning Native Landscape
Photos by Bill Kleiman, Kirk Hallowell, Becky Hartman, Tyler Berndt, and Al Meier
Our mailing address is:
Friends of Nachusa Grasslands
8772 S. Lowden Road
Franklin Grove, IL 61031

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