Mowing the Prairie
If you visit Prairie Ridge in the next few weeks you may notice a significant change in the landscape. We recently mowed a large portion of our reconstructed Piedmont prairie. Mowing, in addition to prescribed fire, is one method we use to manage the prairie. By clearing away the previous year's growth we mimic the natural processes of fire and grazing and discourage the growth of woody plants that would disturb the prairie habitat. During the winter many of the plants that make up the prairie become dormant, relying on their deep root structures to survive. We eagerly await the emergence of new growth in the spring.
We have been sure to leave a portion of the prairie un-mowed to provide cover for the native animals that call the prairie home. During your next visit, don't be surprised by the newly mowed prairie. However, without the grass covering, the burrows of several small mammals may be easily examined. Perhaps in the absence of the prairie you can also take the opportunity to explore our arboretum of native North Carolina trees (organized by region). Several are already budding!
Find out more about the natural happenings at Prairie Ridge at our What Time Is It In Nature Archive.