What is the meadow management program?
A meadow is a plant community composed almost entirely of herbaceous plants and some shrubs. Protecting these natural habitats allows native plants, insects, birds and mammals to flourish and enrich the local environment. The goal of the meadow management program is to protect these natural habitats with minimal disturbance by staff. Occasional spot mowing, and the use of brush cutters or chainsaws are used to control non-native invasive species and keep woody vegetation low or out of meadow areas. If these areas are not managed, they would revert to forest or be overrun by non-native invasive plants and eventually native plants and animals would be eradicated from the area.
What is meadow restoration?
When an area has become too overrun with non-native invasive plants or woody vegetation it may need to be restored. Meadow restoration is the process of removing unwanted vegetation and replacing it with desirable native species that will allow for a greater diversity of plants and animals.
In general, meadow restoration follows three steps: site preparation, planting, maintenance.
A meadow can take anywhere from two to five years to fully establish itself depending on quality of site prep, seed germination, and site maintenance during establishment. While a site is being established it may look dead, barren, or even run down. This is normal and part of the process because native plants take longer to establish than some invasive plants.
The final product will be a diverse community of native grasses and wildflowers which will support a greater diversity of insects including pollinators and associated wildlife such as native birds that utilize meadows for part or all their life cycle.
|Sligo-Dennis Stream Valley Unit #4||Meadow restoration project underway|
|Rachel Carson Conservation Park||Meadow restoration project underway|
Why were these sites selected for the meadow restoration project?
Rachel Carson Conservation park was selected because the park is home to several rare, threatened, or endangered species, and one of the best examples of its native community type in the county. The park is currently being threatened by several invasive species (Japanese stilt grass, Himalayan blackberry, autumn olive, Bradford pear, Japanese honeysuckle, and mile-a-minute). A section of this meadow will be used as a trial run for restoration in other similar meadow sites around parks
Sligo-Dennis Stream Valley Unit #4 was selected because it is in a high-use area and will serve as a trial run for restoration in other smaller high-use areas.
What steps is Montgomery Parks taking to minimize the use of herbicides during meadow restoration?
Dianna Loescher, Senior Natural Resources Specialist