Grassland Restoration in Virginia

I have always enjoyed killing alien plant species. But now that my wife and I own a five-acre property in Fauquier County, VA, I have taken my passion for controlling invasive species and fostering natives to a new level. We started out by girdling the large princess trees and tree-of-heaven on the property. Within months, the woodpeckers and Great Crested Flycatchers appreciated the new dead trees. We also stopped mowing most of the land and then moved on to knocking back the fescue, Nepal grass, and wavyleaf basketgrass that covered much of our one-acre meadow.

IMG_5536

The fescue-dominated meadow before restoration.

Then, in consultation with local restoration experts, we selected 27 native forb and grass species to plant in the meadow from seeds or seedlings. The exotic grasses are fierce but we have made a lot of progress in restoring habitat for native pollinators and other species. We are also planting a variety of native shrubs and trees with the goal of providing host plants for insects and food for wildlife.

IMG_7506

The same meadow after planting, with blooming partridge pea and blue vervain.

As we witness the rebound of native species, we are working hard to identify and document all of the species that occur on the property. Stay tuned! And if you have any ideas on how to improve our restoration efforts please feel free to get in touch!

IMG_7597

Gray hairstreak on roundhead bushclover.

IMG_7101

Silvery checkerspot on false sunflower (?).

IMG_7698

Smooth blue aster.

IMG_7704

Tall coreopsis.

IMG_7712

New England aster with native bees.

IMG_6679

A future 60-acre project in Alabama.

 

Advertisements



%d bloggers like this: