Friary Seeded

by Carl Strang

Recently I posted on the preparation of the friary site’s soil at Mayslake Forest Preserve. Later that day I found that seed had been spread.

A basic starter prairie mix was planted.

Workers were in the process of unrolling netting with straw imbedded.

The netting both reduces seed consumption by birds and helps protect the soil until the spreading roots of the germinating seeds can hold the soil together on their own.

The contractors’ work is complete. Now it’s up to living wild things to repopulate the place.



  1. PointSpecial said,

    August 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

    It will be pretty neat to watch this grow.

    How many seasons does it typically take for a prairie to “catch” and thrive on its onw?

    • natureinquiries said,

      August 3, 2011 at 6:16 am

      I don’t think there’s a single answer to this one. The biggest variable probably is the effort put into the project. As you have seen in the photos, the friary site occupies a few acres, but that still is a small enough area that there will be a lot of non-prairie invaders, both native and weedy non-native species. The effort will be complicated if the imported topsoil has a lot of non-prairie seeds in it. The initial planting list had only 15 or so species on it if memory serves, so at some point more will be needed. Mowing probably will be required in the first couple years to favor the prairie species, and at some point enough dead material will accumulate to support a fire. That brings us to where this site falls on the Forest Preserve District’s restoration priority list, and I don’t know. I wouldn’t necessarily put it real high compared to a lot of the other 25,000+ acres, but I’m not involved in the decision making.

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