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Copyright © 2003 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.

The following is the established format for referencing this article:
Worthen, R. 2003. Weed Control Experience with Restoration. Conservation Ecology 7(2): r8. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol7/iss2/resp8/

Response to Blumenthal et al 2000. "Weed control as a rationale for restoration: the example of tallgrass prairie"

Weed Control Experience with Restoration

Richard Worthen

Here is another story, without academic detail, to support the weed control thesis that you extend.

About 1978 or so, members of our local Sierra Club group, Alton, Illinois, became involved in developing a prairie restoration within a new city park. We learned a lot over the ensuing years about the preparation of plots, seed collection, seed stratification, seed selection, size of effort, varieties, native seeds, fire, public relations, etc. Our second year planting yielded a remarkable--to we city slickers-- experience. We planted close to 8 acres using a Nesbitt drill, and were significantly short on quantity of seed. We proceeded anyway. The ground had been a corn field two years before and laid fallow for one year. It was plowed before our prairie planting. The growth for the first year can only be described as "commercial" quantities of Johnson grass. The second year was not much better, and we were deeply worried. Johnson grass in Illinois is a noxious weed and subject to legal attention from authorities. However, we did nothing, and did not get in trouble.

In the third year, the Johnson grass totally disappeared. Since we had heard horror stories about the persistence and reproduction of Johnson grass, we were astonished to witness the total destruction of Johnson grass by the natural forces of a prairie restoration. No chemicals were used. The only treatment was an annual fire burn, and planting of prairie grasses and forbes. Our restored prairie in 2003 is now 30 acres and one of the most diverse restorations in Illinois. It is also beautiful. We plan to add another 30 acres.

Published: November 6, 2003


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Blumenthal, D. M., N. R. Jordan, and E. L. Svenson. 2003. Weed control as a rationale for restoration: the example of tallgrass prairie. Conservation Ecology 7(1): 6. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/Journal/vol7/iss1/art6

Address of Correspondent:
Richard Worthen
3632 Aberdeen, Alton, Illinois 62002
Phone: 618 465-0183

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