Invasive Plant Removal and Opening of the Tree Canopy
During the winter months and while the ground is frozen, large tree harvesting and invasive plant management equipment will be utilized to remove the undesirable plants and open up the canopy.
Prairie and Savanna Grass Seed
Next, native prairie and savanna grass seed mixes will be sown to start establishing the prairie-like vegetation.
Weed and Invasive Plant Management
After establishing native grasses and flowering plants, and allowing existing plants to respond to the increase in sunlight, contractors, during the summer, will monitor and manage any undesirable plants. This may include mowing down the vegetation and returning in autumn to herbicide any remaining invasive plants such as buckthorn regrowth.
Flowering Plant Seed
After the burn, and while the ground is still bare, native flowering plants will be sown, continuing to establish diversity of the prairie-like vegetation.
After Cullen Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary receives restoration actions including large tree harvesting, prescribed burning, and seeding to reestablish ground layer vegetation, this “shock to the system” will reverse the more than one hundred and fifty years of degradation and mesophication, and begin transitioning the site into a resilient and biodiverse oak savanna.
Management of the site will be ongoing and we will continue to perform restoration actions in response to both invasive species pressure and to ensure plant species richness and diversity. In the coming years and decades, and with continued monitoring, these rich and diverse plant communities will gradually become more resilient and stable, and ultimately serve as a refuge for a rare and common birds, mammals, and pollinators. We envision that Preserve visitors will have awe-inspiring experiences and will revel in the beauty of these rare plant communities.