Various plots were created to develop the S. Kesling Prairie in 1997-2003. Different seed mixtures were planted in response to various site moisture conditions. Seeding times also varied. Totaling <10 acres, all seedings were on a larger old field site that comprised non-native cool season herbaceous species with scattered invading exotic shrubs. With the exception two plots, they were are sprayed with herbicide the summer prior, tilled that fall, and seeded in early summer with a tractor-drawn Brillion drop-broadcast seeder/cultipacker. One of the exceptions was a plot that was seeded Sept.1997. The other plot exception was early summer seeded but, due to potential soil erosion, a series of 8-foot-wide contour strips had been treated with herbicide the prior fall and left untilled. Seed was broadcast and worked into the dead sod with a garden rake. All plots were high-mowed to control weeds– twice the first growing season and once early in the second growing season. Given the relatively small size of the plots, and the need to maintain a reasonable level of labor efficiency, all plots are burned during the same spring season—generally on a three-year cycle.

Maintaining sod erosion control strips in fall site preparation (August 1998)

Incorporating seed into herbicide-killed sod erosion control strips. (June 1999)

High mowing of invasive sweet clover next season after fall planting (August 1998)

Purple spikes of marsh blazing star (Liatris spicata) amidst grey-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), with a common ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata) in the background. (July 2007)