How long does it take to get mature prairie strips?
Prairie strips require multiple years to start looking like a prairie.
- During the first year, mowing is required. The strips will look like a short, vegetated buffer. There may be some native wildflowers, such as partridge pea or black-eyed sSusan, but it will not look like a prairie. Native species put most of their first-year energy in their roots and will not produce significant above-ground biomass.
- During the second year, early species (i.e., Canada wild rye, partridge pea, black-eyed Susan, evening primrose) will be recognizable and may bloom. Unless there is considerable weed pressure, mowing is not necessary. Spot spraying can be used in year two if there are weedy areas.
- By the third year, most prairie restorations will begin to resemble a diverse native tallgrass plant community. Find out more about mowing below under How do I take care of my prairie strips?
If establishing prairie strips into cropland that has been treated with herbicides other than glyphosate, a pre-strip establishment plan may also be necessary. For example, modifying the weed-control plan for that area or planting a cover crop for a year. The STRIPS team is actively researching options for this situation.