Prairie Grass Restoration: A Three Year Plan
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With the rise in prairie grass restoration projects knowing the ideal growing conditions and grasses to plant in order for a successful restoration is very important. Prairie grass can have many benefits for the environment which is why many prairies were destroyed for farmland for their fertile soil. In the summer of 2016, a prairie restoration project was started but ultimately was not completed due to the site being taken over by Crabgrass. The site was treated with Roundup before the site was planted with Big bluestem grass. In order to find out why the Crabgrass grew on the site, a study was started at Carthage College to test some of the factors that could have attributed to the growth. The growth rate was first tested by growing Crabgrass, Big bluestem, and Buffalo grass and then mixing the grasses to observe which grass was able to outcompete each other. Next, treatment of the site was tested by treated Crabgrass plants with an herbicide treatment or burn treatment. Then, Buffalo or Big bluestem grass were planted and observed to see if the Big bluestem and Buffalo grass or Crabgrass would grow. It was found that Buffalo grass can reach a mature height more quickly than Big bluestem and Crabgrass which means that planting Buffalo grass will help ensure that prairie grass will grow on the prairie restoration site. It was also found that a burn treatment allowed for more planted grasses to grow instead of previous vegetation.
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