Maintenance - Ongoing Management
Maintenance Year 1:
During the first year of establishment prairie plant species will use their energy mainly for root growth. It is important to allow sunlight to reach the soil surface and the prairie plants (STRIPS, 2017b). Annual weed pressure will be the greatest during the first year and will decrease in subsequent years.
Maintenance Year 2:
During the second year the prairie strips will start to look more like prairie and should be mowed once or twice to suppress weed growth. Prairie plants will start to have more vegetative growth and will be able to compete with weeds more easily. The mower should be set to a height of eight inches. Mowing will suppress any additional weeds and allow the prairie to continue to grow and become established. Spot weeding or spraying is another way to help suppress weeds.
Maintenance Year 3:
Spot mowing or herbicide applications when necessary should be used to suppress weed growth. If a patch of perennial weeds is not large, weed whacking or hand weeding may be an option. Keeping fast growing highly competitive weeds in check is highly recommended. Burning the prairie is recommended in either the spring or the fall of the third year.
Maintenance Year 4-6:
The prairie plant species will have more above ground vegetative growth. The prairie plants will become more visible and easier to identify. The top growth should be removed at least once during this period to stimulate regrowth. Burning is recommended in either the spring or the fall.
Below is a prairie strip in year 4 of growth:
Below is a prairie strip in year six of growth:
Maintenance Year 7+:
After the 7th year the prairie strips will look like prairie and maintenance will be minimal. The top growth should be removed once every one to two years to stimulate regrowth. Burning is recommended in either the spring or the fall.
Click the link to learn more about: How long does it take to get mature prairie strips?
Click the link to learn more about: Will the prairie strips make my crops more weedy?
Click the link to learn more about: How do I take care of my prairie strips?
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